UK government minister: Gay ‘cure’ therapy is homophobic and has no place in society
A UK government minister has said that gay ‘cure’ therapy has no place in modern society – as it faces renewed calls to ban the practise.
It is currently legal for unregulated quacks to attempt gay ‘cure’ therapy in the UK, though the practise is banned on the NHS.
LGBT activists have called for a new law to directly outlaw it, but the government has rejected calls for action on the issue.
But the government faced calls for action again this week, after a Liverpool Echo exposé of gay cure practises in a local church.
Dan Carden, the MP for Liverpool, Walton, raised the issue in Parliament.
He said: “The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, a church in my constituency, was recently exposed by the Liverpool Echo as overseeing what can only be described as disturbing and dangerous gay cure therapies, which involve rituals and starvation as a cure for homosexuality.
“What assessment has the Minister made of such therapies to in relation to LGBT hate crime? Will she take forward previous efforts to have an outright ban on such therapies, which have no place in 21st-century Britain?”
Home Office minister Sarah Newton responded: “I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this issue. It is very sad to hear what is happening in his constituency.
“I would welcome him coming to the Home Office and providing me with more detail. One would really hope that in the 21st century such homophobic activity was consigned to the history books.
“Let me be absolutely clear: there is no place in our society for hate crime. In our hate crime action plan, we have very, very strong laws against those committing homophobic hate crime.
“I hope that his constituents will not hesitate to use those powers.”
In a response last month, Conservative Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price claimed there is no evidence of “widespread” gay cure therapy in the UK.
She claimed: “We are not aware of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy happening in the United Kingdom.”
Ms Doyle-Price’s claim that the government is “not aware” of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy is pretty surprising, just one week after a gay cure therapist was interviewed on Good Morning Britain.
The popular ITV show invited Dr Michael Davidson, who claims he could stop people being gay, on air to discuss his practices.
Dr Davidson explained that he has a thriving business, explaining: “in the last year I’m seeing up to 14 a week, many of them are in therapy for up to two years.”.
The incident attracted attention after host Piers Morgan branded Dr Davidson a “bigot”, while LGBT groups also condemned the segment for giving a platform to incorrect claims about sexuality.
Mr Doyle-Price’s reply said: “This Government does not recognise so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ as a legitimate treatment. A person’s sexual orientation is not an illness to be cured.
“We have already worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy, to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to put a stop to this practice.
“We are not aware of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy happening in the United Kingdom, but we want to get a better idea of the extent to which it is being practised.
“That is why we included questions on this topic in our national LGBT survey, which was launched this summer. We will publish the survey results and our response in the new year.”
The junior minister was responding to Labour MP Christian Matheson.
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Mr Matheson had asked “the Secretary of State for Health, if he will proscribe the practice of conversion therapy in England”.
The man who pioneered so-called gay cure therapy, Dr. Joseph Nicolodi, died recently .
Dr. Nicolodi was co-founder of the US-based National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
He became a major figure in the ‘ex-gay’ movement.
He ran the clinic, the largest of its kind in the world, for more than three decades, writing four books on how to ‘cure’ homosexuality.