UK Announces Plans to Pursue ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban

Queen’s speech includes legislation that would ban conversion therapy

UK Announces Plans to Pursue ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ban

Queen’s speech includes legislation that would ban conversion therapy

In Queen Elizabeth’s May 10 government-written speech, which was read by her son Prince Charles, the monarch opened the United Kingdom Parliament and announced plans to pursue legislation that would ban so-called “conversion therapy.”

The State Opening of Parliament by the monarch is a centuries-old tradition, and it’s an opportunity for the government to lay out its intentions for the next year. The announcement that the crown backs such a ban is disappointing to the country’s pastors and Bible-believing Christians, many of whom have attempted to head off such a law.

Prince Charles, reading from the Queen’s Speech 2022 for his mother who is having mobility issues, began the speech by noting plans to strengthen the economy, support police and increase funding for the National Health Service. Lodged in a single sentence between plans to increase social housing regulation and proposals to establish an “independent regulator for English football” was this sentence: “Legislation will also be introduced to ban conversion therapy [Conversion Therapy Bill].”

The announcement comes after 2,500 pastors signed a declaration that they would risk prison in order to continue ministering those who wish to be obedient to Christ despite homosexual or transgender desires.

The declaration stated: “The category of ‘Conversion Therapy’ is one which is so broad as to be essentially meaningless. It has the effect of implying an equivalence between calling people to conversion to Christ, which is our duty as Christian ministers, and evil and disreputable past practices which are already illegal and which Christians are the first to condemn. Legislating against such a bizarrely broad category is clearly not viable and strongly risks criminalising us as we fulfil our compassionate duties as Christian ministers and pastors. This would be a clear breach of our legal right to manifest our religion.”

Initially, this group of pastors was promised by politicians during a meeting that their religious freedom and teachings would be honored, but the government has been inconsistent on this issue. Most notably, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s team almost shelved the issue earlier this year, and it’s unclear if politicians will honor their commitments.

Simon Calvert of Let Us Pray, a Christian group dedicated to raising the alarm about how a conversion therapy ban could impede ministry, stated: “By pushing forward with a ban the government risks handing activists a veto on the ordinary, innocent, everyday practices of churches.”

For Calvert and other supporters, there remain deep concerns that the government could make the simple act of “prayer, preaching and pastoral care relating to sexual ethics” illegal.

Though no details have been officially announced, a memo leaked in March initially covered “only gay conversion therapy, not trans.” In April that was reportedly still the case, but the government has a rather long history of flip-flopping on this issue.

Photo: EyePress News/EYEPRESS/Newscom

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