Ministers extend process to ban gay conversion therapy by two months

Ministers are consulting on a new law that would punish groups that come up with ways of discrediting (Image: Getty)

The government’s process to ban so-called conversion therapy has been extended by eight weeks.

Ministers are consulting on a new law that imposes penalties on groups that give reputable practice in a move designed to protect LGBT people.

In October, the government said it would create a new charge within months to end coercive pseudoscientific ‘treatments’.

The initial consultation period was scheduled to end on Friday, with the law enacted in the spring of 2022, four years after it first became official policy.

A consultation on the changes has been extended but the government says it remains committed to completing the deadline by spring.

Women and Equality Minister Liz Truss said the government was ‘absolutely adamant’ about the ban but it wanted to ‘listen to all perspectives on the best ways to do it’.

Critics of the plan say they should go further, eliminating all conversion therapies.

According to Equality Minister Mike Freer, the government must ‘create the correct balance of eliminating ‘the practice’ while protecting freedom of expression.

Campaigners have been pushing for the government to ban discredited activity for years (Image: SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)

Part of the plan includes making a new offense for talk therapies aimed at changing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, when administered to people under the age of 18. in all cases and adults have not given informed consent.

Consent regarding so-called conversion therapy is a vexing question, with the government accepting ‘an adult’s freedom to enter into such an arrangement should be protected’.

But it said consent requirements and safeguards would be ‘strong and rigorous’ when adults must be made aware of potential harms.

Simply embodying the teachings of a religion does not constitute conversion therapy according to the proposals, and it cannot be ‘reasonably construed’ to include casual conversations or private prayer. .

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Ministers will legislate to ensure that when existing violent offenses are motivated by conversion therapy, this is seen as a potential aggravating factor when perpetrators are convicted.

Under the proposal, those found guilty of conversion therapy violations would have any profits made forfeited.

There are also plans to introduce civil remedies such as a Conversion Therapy Protection Order.

The new tool will include measures such as removing the passports of potential victims who are at risk of being sent abroad.

The government remains committed to stopping this activity despite the timetable change, according to Liz Truss (Image: Reuters)

Officials are also planning to block the promotion of the sport online and set up a new support service for victims or those at risk of being exploited.

Speaking after the plan was first announced, Anneliese Dodds, shadow women’s secretary and equals said the proposals had left ‘the door open for people to “agree” to instilling practices underground for religious reasons’, adding that Labor would put in place a ‘real ban’ if it took power.

After announcing the extension, Ms Truss said: ‘We are fully committed to a moratorium that will ensure LGBT people can live their lives free from threats of abuse or abuse, and at the same time. protecting freedom of expression and protecting people under the age of 18 from abuse becomes an irrevocable decision about their future. ‘

Mr Freer said: ‘The focus of the ban will be on people actively seeking to change someone’s gender or transgender status, with the protection of young people a particular priority.’

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Huynh Nguyen

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