Theresa May appoints MP who defended ‘gay cure’ charity as Arts Minister
Theresa May has appointed an anti-LGBT MP with ‘gay cure’ links to the government.
This Prime Minister has been reshuffling her front bench after the Conservative Party lost its majority in parliament in the June 8 General Election.
While negotiating a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – a Northern Irish party which opposes LGBT rights – May appointed John Glen as Minister for Arts, Tourism and Heritage.
Mr Glen, Conservative MP for Salisbury, previously refused to cut ties with a ‘gay cure’ charity and strongly opposed same-sex marriage.
The 43-year-old minister is a long-time supporter of the Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) charity, who funded a gay cure conference in London in 2009.
The charity backed the conference which discussed “therapeutic approaches to and understandings of same-sex attraction” and “mentoring the sexually broken”.
It also hosted the late Joseph Nicolosi, inventor of the modern practicse of ‘gay cure therapy’, as a keynote speaker.
Mr Glen refused to condemn CARE’s conference, and refused to stop accepting interns from the Christian charity.
Despite a number of other MPs ending their links with the organisation following its event, Glen claimed he was being “bullied” by LGBT campaigners.
The Christian MP, who began his career as a CARE intern, also voted against the Marriage (Same-Sex) Couples Act at second and third reading, and lambasted the Bishop of Salisbury for supporting the equality legislation.
He will now be a key figure in deciding government policy for the arts and tourism, as an Under-Secretary in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Steve Reed, one of Labour’s shadow Culture, Media and Sport ministers, told PinkNews: “It is shocking that a Government Minister has links with an organisation promoting the idea that gay people are sick and can be ‘cured’.
“John Glen must immediately disassociate himself from this offensive slur.”
The Labour MP added: “He must repudiate CARE and other groups that fuel hatred and intolerance and apologise for his past association with them.”
Mr Glen told PinkNews: “I am deeply committed to equality before the law for gay couples and was the sponsor of the Merchant Navy (Homosexual Conduct) Act which repealed historic discrimination of gay men.
“I abhor any suggestion that being gay is an illness or can be cured and have spoken at length about the need to tackle homophobic bullying.
“No one should suffer any mistreatment or discrimination because of their sexual orientation.”
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The DUP’s leader, Arlene Foster, is ultra-conservative and has previously supported the introduction of a ‘conscience clause’ to protect religious people who want to discriminate against anyone who is LGBT.
The DUP also stalled progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland, attempted to retain a lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, and opposed same-sex couples adopting children.
Foster’s party will now be in a formal agreement with the government to implement its programme.
Update: This article originally stated John Glen MP had been appointed as Civil Society Minister. His portfolio was later confirmed as Arts, Tourism and Heritage.