The Minister for Women and Equalities has informed Parliament that the consultation on a so-called conversion therapy ban – first announced in the Queen’s Speech – will be launched in the autumn.
Liz Truss MP told the House of Commons that the Government will “consult in September” and legislate “as soon as possible” afterwards.
The consultation will consider the effect of a ban – covering ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ – on religious freedom in England and Wales. The Government has previously said it does not wish to outlaw “legitimate forms of pastoral support”.
In a statement released in May to accompany the Queen’s Speech, the Government said it would “ensure” any action taken was “proportionate”, “effective” and without “unintended consequences”.
The statement continued: “We will ensure medical professionals, religious leaders, teachers and parents can continue to be able to have open and honest conversations with people.”
It pledged at the time to “launch a consultation before details of the ban are finalised to hear from a wide range of voices” on the issue.
The Christian Institute has threatened the Government with legal action if a proposed conversion therapy ban outlaws the ‘wrong kind of prayer’.
In a detailed legal opinion for the Institute, Jason Coppel QC confirmed that activists’ proposed definitions of the law would criminalise the ordinary work of churches.
Mr Coppel warned that such legislation would contravene UK human rights law, which protects “the freedom of church organisations to preach” and “require conformity” to its beliefs on sexual ethics and gender identity.