Gay cure therapy: MPs demand answers from the Government
MPs have called for the UK Government to provide better answers after it rejected a petition to make ‘gay cure’ therapy illegal.
A petition by Liverpool Echo journalist Josh Parry, who went undercover to expose a church offering the ‘therapy’, received more than 12,000 signatures backing a ban.
Despite public outcry the Government refused to take action – saying it “does not believe creating a criminal offence is the right way forward”.
Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price even claimed the Government was “not aware” of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy, despite a “therapist” saying he saw 14 clients a week on Good Morning Britain.
MPs have now criticised the Government for failing to sufficiently address the petition’s questions.
In a new statement members of the petitions committee said: “The Committee has asked the Government to explain clearly why the Government does not believe that creating a new criminal offence is the right way forward.
“The Committee was also concerned that the response only talks about work that the Government is doing with medical professionals.
“It does not explain what the Government is doing when this ‘therapy’ is offered by people who aren’t medical professionals, as in the case described in the petition. The Committee has asked the Government to provide more information about this.”
The new calls are good news for campaigners who have spent years arguing for the practice to be outlawed.
Josh Parry, who created the petition, told PinkNews: “I’m delighted that the petitions committee has seen through the empty response given by the Department of Health.
“The response did not address the concerns and sadly stopped the campaign, which had been going so well, in its tracks.
“It’s now more important than ever that people sign and share the campaign, and I’m calling for people to write to their local MPs to support the campaign.
“It’s time that these horrendous ‘therapies’ are consigned to the past – from health professionals to religious leaders – nobody should be offering them. They are harmful and do not work.”
If the petition passes 100,000 signatures then it could be debated in the Commons.
It is currently entirely legal to perform so-called gay cure therapy in the UK.
Registered medical professionals face being struck off for performing the therapy, but there is nothing to stop those who are not medically qualified.
In its original response, which has now been labelled insufficient, the Government said it “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.”
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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.”
The Department of Health would instead advocates training and awareness to reach the goal of wiping out gay ‘cure’ therapy.
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.