Blanket ban on conversion therapy ‘would imprison many in their misery’

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The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) has warned the Scottish Government that a “blanket ban” on conversion therapy “would imprison many in their misery”.

In its submission to the government consultation on the proposed ban, the CMF, representing around 5,000 UK medical practitioners, says: “Some people experience unwanted same sex attraction (SSA) or gender dysphoria (GD) and are deeply distressed as a result. Some of them find love and acceptance in a community of Christians.

“They experience understanding and support that helps them come to terms with their sexual and/or gender identity, and the courage and strength to live out their Christian faith in a way consistent with its sexual ethic.

“A blanket ban would imprison many in their misery.”

Supporters of the ban “rightly want to support survivors of abuse and coercion”, CMF argues. But a blanket ban “would only add to the list of victims by eliminating all hope of finding the help some are seeking”.

CMF also urges the Scottish government to take an evidence-based approach to the legislation.

“Legislation to ban harmful practices must be based on reliable research that clearly demonstrates such harm is occurring,” the submission reads.

“No evidence has been supplied that historic abhorrent practices such as chemical castration, corrective rape, electric shock therapy and forced marriage are commonly taking place in the UK today.”

It adds that there is already existing legislation against such abusive practices and warns that there is “a lack of good quality research data” to guide legislators.

“Such research as has been done generally takes the form of voluntary surveys with small sample sizes and with respondents recruited through the social media channels of the LGBT+ charities. Inevitably, these channels tend to attract respondents with strong views on the subject,” it says. 

The CMF submission concludes that a total ban aiming to shut down the work of responsible churches would “rob many of the very information, support and counsel that they are seeking”.

“Fearful of transgressing the law, churches will cease to engage with people who are seeking to express their sexuality and gender identity in ways consistent with their Christian faith but who experience same sex attraction or gender dysphoria,” the submission continues.

“The very people who currently offer acceptance, community, help and support will be paralysed, fearful of being reported and prosecuted.

“We urge the Scottish Government to pause, review evidence, listen to a broad range of stakeholders, and produce better legislation as a result.” 

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