Campaigners are calling on the Government to extend its consultation on a ‘conversion therapy’ ban to the standard twelve weeks rather than the reduced six week timeline currently in place.
Let Us Pray believes an ill-considered ban risks criminalising ordinary church activities, such as prayer between friends. It is also worried about the impact on parents’ freedom to teach their children the reality of biological sex and pass on their values concerning sexual ethics.
Currently, the Government’s consultation on how to make coercive ‘conversion therapies’ illegal is open for six weeks, and closes on 10 December.
Simon Calvert, spokesman for the Let Us Pray campaign, said: “The more people hear about these proposals, the more concerned they are.
“Feminists are rightly worried about the impact on a parent’s ability to challenge the narrative that their gender-confused child is ‘trapped in the wrong body’.
This issue is too important to rush
“Church groups are concerned an over-broad ban would be used to ‘punish’ them for having ‘the wrong views’ about sexuality.”
He noted: “Government guidance on consultations warns that ‘consulting too quickly will not give enough time for consideration and will reduce the quality of responses’. This issue is too important to rush.”
Last week, the Prime Minister’s former Director of Legislative Affairs Nikki da Costa claimed the period of consultation had been curtailed “to get a good news story” ahead of the Government’s global pro-LGBT conference in June 2022.
Da Costa, whose concerns focus around the trans aspect of the conversion therapy ban, told The Times: “There’s no reason why the government can’t take a few more weeks, even a couple months to get this right.”
In response, Conservative Peer Baroness Jenkin of Kennington tweeted: “More and more colleagues in @UKHouseofLords expressing concern about the fact that the consultation period for the Conversion Therapy (Prohibition) Bill is only six weeks rather than the usual 12”.