The UK government has refused to make gay ‘cure’ therapy a crime.
It is currently legal to practice the so-called therapy, though it is banned on the NHS.
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition urging authorities to officially make it a crime.
The petition was created by undercover journalist Josh Parry, who exposed a church practising gay cure therapy.
The number of signatures he attracted was enough to earn a response – but not a positive one.
“The Government totally condemns any attempt to treat being gay, lesbian or bisexual as an illness, the reply from the Department of Health began.
“However, the Government does not believe creating a criminal offence is the right way forward.”
The response continued: “The Government fully recognises the importance of this issue and the adverse impact this treatment could have on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people.”
This is despite health minister Jackie Doyle-Price playing down the issue in September, claiming that there was no evidence of “widespread” gay ‘cure’ therapy in the UK.
Her statement that the government was “not aware” of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy was 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 methods.
The government’s response to the petition added: “There is no evidence that this sort of treatment is beneficial, and indeed it may well cause significant harm to some patients.
“It is incumbent on professionals working in the National Health Service to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination.”
But making gay ‘cure’ therapy a crime, the government said, was not the right way to achieve this.
The Department of Health would instead be using training and raising awareness to reach the goal of wiping out gay ‘cure’ therapy.
“This Government is committed to tackling discrimination towards LGBT people.
“That is why we have already worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), to develop first a consensus statement and then a Memorandum of Understanding committing signatory organisations to a range of activities including training and awareness raising amongst their members in relation to this issue.
“This Government has already taken the necessary steps to prevent the practice of gay conversion therapy in the UK,” the response concluded.
When Good Morning Britain had gay ‘cure’ therapist Dr Davidson on its show, he claimed he had a thriving business.
“In the last year I’m seeing up to 14 a week, many of them are in therapy for up to two years,” he told viewers.