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UK confirms it will soon bring in plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’

UK confirms it will soon bring in plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’

  • ‘I will shortly be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy.’
Protest against 'gay cures' in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The UK government has renewed its promise to ban anti-LGBT+ ‘conversion therapy’ and promised to act soon.

The pledge from Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss comes after a cross-party group of parliamentarians demanded action.

The UK indicated it would bring in a law to ban the so-called gay ‘cures’ in 2018. However, since then they have not acted.

However, Truss has now confirmed the government’s commitment ‘to end the vile practice of so-called conversion therapy’.

She says: ‘I fundamentally disagree with attempts to forcibly change someone’s sexuality and I will shortly be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy.’

Looking for ‘best way’ to prevent conversion therapy

On Friday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights, wrote to Truss calling for a ban.

In her reply she says:

‘As you know, there are certain abhorrent and violent practices which may be classed as conversion therapy such as “corrective” rape, or other forms of physical abuse, which are already covered by existing criminal offences.

‘Where such practices are already unlawful, we will ensure the law is clear, well understood and enforced.

‘Where dangerous conversion therapy practices are not already unlawful, I am examining the best ways to prevent them being conducted, without sending such practices underground.

‘It is of course the case that we are not trying to prevent LGBT people from seeking spiritual support from their faith leader in the exploration of their sexual orientation.

‘However, I should be clear that this does not extend to supporting the use of conversion therapy in any context, spiritual or otherwise.’

Furthermore, Truss says her officials have already contacted the German government for advice. Germany passed a ‘conversion therapy’ ban in May.

‘End conversion therapy for good’

In her letter Truss promises to ‘end conversion therapy for good’.

GSN has contacted the Government Equalities Office asking on the timetable for the proposals and when a ban may start.

We have also asked if there will be any religious exemptions to the ban or any exemptions designed to avoid the gay cures ‘going underground’.

Around the world faith groups are the leading organizations carrying out the dangerous and ineffective ‘gay cures’.

We are awaiting a response.

If the UK moves fast, it could become the sixth country in the world to pass a ban.

It will join Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan which have already passed laws.

Meanwhile Albania also banned conversion therapy this year. But its ban is not a law. It only covers therapy professionals and only carries professional sanctions.

At present Canada, Ireland, Australia and Chile are all considering national bans, like the UK.

However, there are partial, de-facto or regional bans in countries including China, Switzerland and Spain. 

Meanwhile there are bans in 20 US states: New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Utah and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Moreover, international LGBT+ organization ILGA World has predicted 2020 could be a breakthrough year for ending conversion therapy.

Update: Government may not use legal ban

The Government Equalities Office has now responded to GSNs questions. In their reply, they indicate that the UK may not move to a legal ban – if another method is more effective.

They told GSN: We are considering how this practice can be brought to an end in the UK.

We need to examine whether a legal ban is the most effective tool for ending this position, or if we need to consider additional non-legislative proposals, which may include working with different stakeholder groups to understand how to end conversion therapy practices in their communities. We are considering all options to ensure an effective approach.

We have been clear that all conversion therapy practices are wrong and that future proposals will seek to end this practice in any context, spiritual or otherwise, for good.

However, the government declined to outline its timetable at this stage. The spokesperson told GSN they will set out next steps ‘in due course’.