An MP has claimed a Christian organization which he received an intern from has dropped its backing for so-called ‘gay cures’.
Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) came under fire when campaigner Phillip Dawson pointed out the organization had previously supported a conference which discussed ‘therapeutic approaches to and understandings of same-sex attraction’ and ‘mentoring the sexually broken’.
The conference discussed ‘gay cures’ which have been discredited by professional medical bodies as ineffective and dangerous.
Dawson released a list of 20 British Members of Parliament who have had interns funded by CARE, and started a petition asking the MPs to drop their relationship with the organization.
But when Tim Farron, president of the Liberal Democrat party, announced he would not be having another CARE intern this week, his statement contained one surprise.
‘I have spoke to CARE and they have made it clear that they absolutely do not support the notion of “gay cures”,’ he wrote.
‘You won’t be surprised to learn that I consider the notion of a “gay cure” utterly offensive and have mad my view on this very clear to CARE. I will not be having another CARE intern.’
Gay Star News contacted the organization to ask if they have changed their position and now oppose ‘gay cure’ therapy. We are awaiting a response.
Dawson said Farron, who had previously defended the CARE intern scheme as giving opportunities to under-advantaged young people, had only responded after a lot of campaign work.
Dawson told Gay Star News: ‘Over Easter I sent 1,000 emails to every Liberal Democrat constituency association, every Liberal Democrat MP and every councillor in Farron's constituency with links to the evidence I have collected, asking people to sign my petition and contact Tim Farron MP to encourage him to make a public statement.
‘I was delighted to receive a written statement from Tim Farron today confirming his statements made on Twitter; that he will not participate in CARE's intern program in the future.’
Meanwhile another MP, Paul Burstow, has told YourLocalGuardian.co.uk that he would look ‘very closely’ at applications from another CARE intern given the ‘allegations’ against them.
The Conservative MP for the southern English city of Salisbury, John Glen, is now the only MP who currently has an intern from CARE who is yet to confirm whether he will continue to do so in the future. It has emerged that he is a previous CARE intern himself.
Dawson said: ‘I very much hope that Mr Glen, along with the 12 other MPs who have declared that they have participated in the intern scheme since the “gay cure” event took place, will follow Tim Farron, David Lammy, Liz Kendall, Cat McKinnell and Sharon Hodgson and make public statements distancing themselves from the intern scheme.
‘People writing to their MPs need to have confidence that their letters will not be dealt with by staff who are paid by a charity that co-sponsored an event promoting “gay cures”.’
In another development the Labour party’s shadow equality minister, Kate Green MP, has thrown her support behind the campaign, saying she ‘has not and will not’ work with CARE.
CARE is also one of the religious organizations campaigning against the introduction of fully-equal gay marriage in Britain.
It is linked to Anglican Mainstream, the Christian group funding attempts to place a ‘gay cure’ advert on the sides of London buses this week – a plan which was blocked by London’s mayor Boris Johnson.