A campaigner has demanded an investigation after it emerged that a Christian organization which backs ‘gay cures’ is also supporting British MPs.
Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) backed a conference in April 2009 which discussed ‘therapeutic approaches to and understandings of same sex attraction’ and ‘mentoring the sexually broken’.
The conference included a speaker from JONAH, a Jewish organization which has becoming increasingly controversial for its ‘gay cure’ therapies.
So called ‘gay cures’ themselves have been discredited by mainstream professional psychological bodies as ineffective and potentially dangerous.
Now campaigner Phillip Dawson has released a list of 20 British MPs who have had interns funded by CARE since the 2009 conference.
The list includes Tim Farron who is president of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Spelman, the Conservative Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs both of whom have poor records on voting on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.
Conservative MP David Burrowes, who is trying to rally opposition to gay marriage equality in parliament, has also had longstanding intern support from CARE. However not all the MPs who have had support are homophobes. Labour’s David Lammy is one example of a pro-gay MP who has nevertheless been backed by CARE.
Importantly, none of the MPs have breached parliamentary rules by accepting the support.
Dawson told Gay Star News: ‘I am not alleging the MPs themselves have done anything wrong. But I do feel the issue should be raised partly to alert the MPs themselves that CARE seems to be supporting things they may themselves find unsavory.’
He wants the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow to investigate and has launched a petition to request this.
However, despite Bercow’s personal support for gay issues over a number of years, this falls beyond his powers as Speaker – a job that requires him to be politically neutral.
A spokesman for the Speaker told GSN: ‘Issues relating to MP interns are solely a matter for MPs themselves, and not for the Speaker of the House of Commons.’
Andy Wasley, spokesman for Stonewall, the leading British lesbian, gay and bisexual campaign organization, said Dawson’s research raised serious concerns.
Wasley told GSN: ‘It is a matter of grave concern that this shadowy organization which promotes a voodoo theology about so-called “gay cure therapy” is given any credence or has access to members of parliament.
‘I would hope that any MP who has had contact with CARE would give no less a service to their lesbian, gay and bisexual constituents, many of whom would be deeply concerned to see groups like this offering interns to politicians.’
Gay Star News also contacted CARE but we were told they did not wish to comment. Some links relating them to the conference have apparently been removed from their site since they became aware of Dawson’s research.
Dawson has also launched a Facebook page to encourage Burrowes to change his mind and support same-sex marriage equality.
UPDATE: Pro-gay marriage MP David Lammy has now said he will not be accepting another intern from CARE, who had paid £5,500 ($8,620 €6,511) to an intern who worked in his office from January 2011.
Speaking after GSN published it's initial story, he said he had initially worked with CARE on the subject of betting shops.
But he told his local paper, the Haringey Independent: ‘I had no idea that they held these views and my position now is that I won’t be taking another intern because I can’t agree with their extreme views.’