Letter to The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Minister for Women and Equalities
Broad ‘conversion therapy’ ban
The Christian Institute and its Let Us Pray campaign has been defending the ordinary work of churches since the Government announced it was considering a ban.
Read our press release
‘Conversion therapy’ is a wide umbrella term chosen by LGBT campaigners. It covers abusive practices by quack medical practitioners and charlatan preachers which are largely illegal already. But campaigners want to go much further and criminalise repentance as well as preaching, prayer, pastoral care and even parenting that fails to endorse liberal theology.
Coercive and abusive behaviour should be caught by existing law. But it is wrong for biblically faithful preaching, prayer, pastoral care and parenting to be in the sights of lawmakers.
The Christian Institute has instructed solicitors in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland to prepare the ground for a potential judicial review of any laws banning ‘conversion therapy’ that restrict religious freedom.
This is based on legal advice received from one of the UK’s leading human rights KCs warning that an over-broad ban could criminalise the ordinary work of churches. This would put the UK in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and open the Government to legal challenge in the courts.
The Institute has won both its previous judicial reviews against UK governments. The first, in 2007, resulted in a partial strike down of the Northern Ireland Sexual Orientation Regulations. The second, in 2016, resulted in the repeal of the Scottish Government’s unlawful ‘Named Person’ scheme.
Scottish Govt on new collision course with courts
The Scottish Government’s extreme ‘conversion therapy’ ban is “beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament to legislate”, top human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill KC has said in a legal opinion for The Christian Institute.He says the “fundamentally illiberal” proposals also breach Holyrood’s competence as set out in the Scotland Act of 1998 as they contain measures which change UK equality and discrimination law which is not devolved to Holyrood.
Letters from our solicitors to the respective governments in Westminster, Holyrood and Stormont:
Letter to Deirdre Hargey MLA, Minister for Communities
Letter to Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government