Scottish Government launches consultation on ‘conversion therapy’ plans

9, January 2024

The Scottish Government has published its long-expected consultation on new ‘conversion therapy’ legislation.

It includes the SNP’s latest proposals for laws intended to protect LGBT people from abuse. But the reality is that verbal and physical abuse are already illegal, and a new law is likely to stifle the ordinary work of churches.

The 12-week consultation gives members of the public the opportunity to raise concerns with law makers. Let Us Pray will be helping our supporters to do just that – ensure you are signed up to the campaign to receive updates.

Let Us Pray’s Simon Calvert said:

“Gay and trans people are already protected, quite rightly, from verbal and physical abuse by existing law.

“Since those things are already illegal, what is it that this Bill seeks to criminalise? The activists are quite clear that they want it to target conversations and opinions they don’t like.

“The leading activist, Jayne Ozanne, says she wants ‘gentle, non-coercive prayer’ to be covered by a ban. And ‘End Conversion Therapy Scotland’ spokesman Blair Anderson says that ‘depending on your parents’ consent’ to change gender is ‘Conversion Therapy 101’.

Last month, a letter opposing the Government’s plans was signed by over 3000 people, including over 500 church leaders and pastoral workers. Explaining why he co-signed the letter, Reverend Dr William Philip said:

“The Scottish Government’s planned ‘conversion therapy’ Bill would see parents and churches in the firing line simply for daring to disagree with LGBT orthodoxy. The LGBT activists behind this Bill want to target not abuse and coercion – which are already illegal – but ‘private prayer’ and ‘casual conversations’ if the content does not affirm their ideology.

Co-signatory Reverend Stephen Allison also commented:

“Central to the Christian faith is the call for people – all people – to turn to Christ for forgiveness from sin. It is what shapes our belief and practice as Christians. But those pushing for a ‘conversion therapy’ Bill are clear that they want a ban to include Christian teaching on sin and repentance.

“It is our responsibility as ministers to help our congregations live for Christ in all areas of life. The proposed legislation threatens to silence the legitimate prayerful and pastoral support that we can give to those questioning sexual ethics and gender. It also threatens parents’ ability to have loving conversations with their children about sexuality and gender.”

Over the coming days, we will be closely analysing the policy put forward by the Scottish Government. Stay tuned for more.

Sign up to the Let Us Pray campaign.

See also: Over 500 church leaders sign letter to Scot Govt opposing conversion therapy plans

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