The Prime Minister has confirmed churches can continue using methods of prayer to help “cure” an individual’s sexuality.
Boris Johnson has said the community will be able to receive the ‘appropriate pastoral support including prayer’ for the ‘exploration of their sexual orientation’.
MPs have previously called upon the government to go ahead with a trans-inclusive conversion therapy ban.
Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to ‘erase, repress, cure or change’ someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through forms psychological and physical methods.
Conversion therapy practice is already outlawed in Switzerland and certain areas in Australia, Canada, the US, and in some cases in India.
MPs from all parties have called upon the government to urgently action a legalisation timeline to prevent the ‘medieval’ practice from continuing.
Johnson has assured churches of their practices after the government faced backlash for considering the ban of conversion therapy.
The Evangelical Alliance, which represents over 3,000 churches, has actively spoken against removing the ban.
UK Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Peter Lynas, has argued the removal of the ban could “restrict individual freedom” and “criminalise Christians and common church activities”.
The PM responded to the Evangelical Alliance’s concerns and stated he takes “freedom of speech and freedom of religion very seriously” while the Government plans to ban conversion therapy.
Last month, Lynas sent a letter to the Prime Minister addressing the “highly problematic” recall of the conversion therapy ban.
“Proposals, as currently discussed, could have the consequence of restricting individual freedom and impinging on essential religious liberty — potentially criminalising Christians and common church activities,” Lynas wrote.
The UK director added: “Many lobbying for change are seeking an expansive definition that would be highly problematic and which we could not support.”
In May 2020, the Government issued a response to the LGBTQ+ petition: “We will work to deepen our understanding and consider all options for ending the practice of conversion therapy.”
LGBTQ+ organisations and faith communities are calling for the UK government to “stop dragging its feet” on the conversion therapy ban.
March 28 will mark exactly 1,000 days since the government announced a commitment to end conversion therapy practices in the UK.
According to a poll shared exclusively with ITV News, 62% of people surveyed by YouGov – on behalf of the Ozanne Foundation – support a ban, while only 14% did not. The other 24% were unsure.
Of those surveyed with a religious affiliation, 57% were in favour of a ban and 15% were not.
The practise – which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association – refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.
Yesterday (April 13) the UK Government announced its advisory panel, which was set up to address issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, has been disbanded.
The LGBT panel was established as part of Theresa May’s 2018 LGBT Action Plan. The aim of the advisory panel was to offer insight “on issues and policies concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
According to the BBC, a government spokesman has said a replacement for the panel “will be set out in due course”.
The dissolving of the LGBT panel follows the resignation of three leading equality advisors.
The three UK government advisors quit their roles after accusing Boris Johnson’s administration of creating a “hostile” environment for the LGBTQ+ community.