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Christian organisation blasts proposals to ban gay conversion therapy

A plan to ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy has been labelled an attack on the freedom of those Christians who hold the view that the Bible says homosexual acts are sinful.

The Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream says the Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill will stop many of those believers acting out their faith.

Andrew Symes has been speaking as Labour MP Geraint Davies launches the bill which he says will stop therapists attempting to 'cure' a person's sexual orientation.

The legislation also looks to tighten the regulation of therapy and counselling which currently sees those with no qualifications able to practice. Mr Davies told Premier's News Hour why he's brought it to Parliament.

Despite professional bodies being against gay cure therapy, it's been commonplace in the UK with a recent survey suggesting one in six therapists had attempted the treatment. Various Christian groups also offer services when it comes to tackling unwanted same-sex attraction albeit with different names to 'conversion therapy'.

Anglican Mainstream has recently held conferences for those wanting to change their sexuality. Andrew Symes outlined his problem with the bill to Premier's Des Busteed on the News Hour.

Various medical groups have often pointed to evidence by Shidlo and Shroeder which suggests this sort of therapy has no impact on changing sexual orientation and can often harm a patient's psychological wellbeing. Those in favour of the treatment discredit the evidence claiming the only people questioned in the report were people with bad experiences. Mr Davies says he welcomes more research from both sides.

Recently a number of Christians have been struck off professional bodies for offering conversion therapy. The case of Lesley Pilkington hit the headlines last year when she lost an appeal against the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Her name was taken off the body's list when she was recorded by an undercover reporter offering the treatment.

The bill had its first reading in Parliament in October, but only now have the details been announced. The second reading is scheduled for January 24th.

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