The Queen’s Speech – which sets out the government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session – has confirmed there will be a consultation to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.
LGBT campaigners want to completely outlaw any attempt to stop people expressing their sexual orientation or transgender identity.
They want certain religious practices to be banned, including any preaching, prayer, Bible studies, or pastoral counselling which seeks to help people resist LGBT temptation.
The campaigners are even going so far as to say that parenting should be covered by the proposed new law, so that it could be illegal for a mum or dad to dissuade their child from taking sex-change drugs.
The government says it is mindful of the potential threat to religious and family freedom. But activists are pushing hard to make sure the law is as far reaching as possible.
A founder of the ‘Ban Conversion Therapy’ campaign said, ‘“Spiritual guidance” is really just religious speak for conversion therapy’ and ‘the pernicious power of prayer must be dealt with’.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, ‘I do not want to see clergy and church members criminalised for normal non- coercive activity.’
And the government issued a statement about a proposed ban on conversion therapy saying, ‘We will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective, and does not have unintended consequences.
‘We will ensure medical professionals, religious leaders, teachers and parents can continue to be able to have open and honest conversations with people.’
But LGBT activist Jayne Ozanne accused the government of ‘appeasing evangelicals’. She called for forms of prayer to be banned and said, ‘perpetrators must face the full force of the law.’
In the Australian state of Victoria a similar law means pastoral advice and prayer that uphold biblical teaching on sexual ethics have been criminalised.
There, offenders face up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of over £100,000. The state Attorney General said church ministers will be re-educated by the state to prevent them breaking the law.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, The Christian Institute has warned the government it will pursue legal action if a proposed conversion therapy ban interferes with religious liberty.
Jason Coppel QC confirmed that the ordinary work of churches could be criminalised if campaigners get their way.