In July this year, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the anti-conversion therapy plans, as part of an effort to combat ‘intolerance’ and ‘discrimination’ against the gay community.
The £4.5m initiative followed a poll among 108,000 LGBT people, which found 2 per cent of respondents had undergone conversion therapy, while 5 per cent had been offered it.
Just days before high-profile resignations from her Cabinet and strong division among her MPs because of her Brexit plans, Mrs May said, ‘No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love’.
However, Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said this amounted to a ‘must-stay-gay law’, and that it did not take into consideration the desires of those who actively seek counselling to help them deal with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Ms Williams cited several reasons why people might seek gay conversion therapy, including ‘staying faithful to a spouse, maintaining religious vows, or living out one’s Christian beliefs in sexuality’.
She added: ‘Any proposed ban on counselling for unwanted same-sex attraction represents an egregious attack on personal freedoms and the right to privacy.
‘The courts have recognised ex-gay as being a protected characteristic under Section 12 of the Equality Act 2010, and rightfully so’.
Rather than providing more freedom, she said: ‘The proposed ban on therapy would stigmatise the ex-gay community and violate their rights to talk about their experiences and how they have been helped’.