In recent weeks news headlines have suggested that the government will shortly announce what they will do next in regards to their pledge to end conversion therapy.

Since the government announced in 2018 that they would bring forward plans to end conversion therapy there has been a lot of talk, but very little action. The plans have been at times supported and rejected by different prime ministers. Theresa May was for a plan, Boris Johnson was too until he wasn’t, until he was again, and Rishi Sunak seems to be joining the hokey cokey and it’s not yet clear where he’ll be when the music stops!

Much has also been made of the words of the pledge – does ending conversion therapy entail new legislation to ban it? And at some point, in the discussion conversion therapy was replaced with conversion practices’ in the announcements. Meanwhile, the government in Westminster have been slow to provide clarity as to what it is exactly. And while attention has been given to whether such practices should be termed therapy or not, (hence the change in language) little public consideration has been given to whether what is being talked about has anything to do with conversion (in my opinion it does not). 

A lack of definition is at the heart of the problem with all of the proposals that have been suggested. Without clarity as to what exactly is being ended or banned it is hard to know what the impact of legislation would be. As a result, there remains major concerns that there could be significant unintended consequences, and that any attempt to address abusive and coercive practices would have the affect of limiting personal liberty and wider religious freedom. When the UK government consulted on their plans at the end of 2021, they did not provide a definition, nor did they furnish their consultation with examples of what would or would not be caught by the proposed law. 


The Evangelical Alliance has consistently held the view that abusive and coercive practices should be banned. We, along with many others, understand that existing laws need to address such abuse, and it is the responsibility of the government to demonstrate if there are gaps that would require new legislation. To date, no gaps have been highlighted. 

This week we have written to the prime minister to reiterate our concerns about the potential consequences of a poorly considered law, and to ask for clarity as to what the government are doing and the impact it will have. 

It is vital that individuals are able to receive the support and care that they want. For many Christians who are attracted to people of the same sex they benefit from support to live as they choose, whether this is through pastoral support, counselling or prayer. All of these streams of support are at risk. Furthermore, some of those supporting new laws suggest that Christian teaching that sexual intimacy should only be within a marriage between a man and a woman is inherently harmful. On this basis they would argue that teaching historical, biblical sexual ethics should be banned as it is itself a conversion practice’, as it may encourage someone to limit the fulfilment of their sexual desires. 

The approach the government has taken in the last couple of weeks has been more about internal party management than being led with any clarity as to what the best policy direction is. One day the government briefs the press and sets out that they are going to progress forward with introducing a new law and proposals for a draft bill will be including in the upcoming King’s Speech. And then a few days later a different journalist is told that the plans are being pushed into the long grass and that inclusion of a draft bill in the King’s Speech means that the government will not pass a law in this area before the next election. 

If the government do publish a draft law in the coming weeks this will then be considered by a committee in parliament. This will be a vital opportunity for you to have your say about how this law could have serious consequences for individuals seeking to live their lives in accordance to their beliefs as well as the freedom of churches to teach and disciple people. We will provide support to help you engage in this process. 

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What the government must consider in its upcoming conversion therapy bill

What the government must consider in its upcoming conversion therapy bill

The UK government will shortly publish their plans to address conversion practices but there are significant risks to individual freedom and everyday church practices
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A law that traps teens

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