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Gay conversion therapy bill expected to be announced in upcoming King's Speech

by Marcus Jones

Newspaper reports suggest a bill to ban gay conversion therapy will be put on the parliamentary calendar when it is announced in the King's Speech next month.

There was some doubt whether ministers would push ahead with the plans, which could see prayer and pastoral support for those with unwanted same-sex attraction outlawed.

Thousands of church leaders have signed petitions concerned that the legislation will lead to them having to break the law.

While backing a ban on specific treatments, they are worried that a complete ban would prevent them from being able to pray with someone struggling with their sexuality.

Ciaran Kelly from the Let Us Pray campaign told Premier the reports were "disappointing".

He said: "If you're going to introduce a new law, you've got to know what it is that you are outlawing.

"I don't think there is any doubt that abuse and coercion against all people, LGBT people or otherwise, is already illegal. So, the kind of bill that has been talked about is unnecessary.

"We know that voters don't want it. There was some polling done recently, which showed that out of 23 possible priorities, it ranked number 22. Ninety-six per cent of voters said it wasn't a priority for them. So it's troubling."

The government has previously said that it would ensure that the bill did not have "unintended consequences" and would protect "legitimate conversations" and that only abusive practices would be outlawed.

LGBT campaigners say that a complete ban should be imposed while Labour has called for a bill with "no loopholes".

Ciaran Kelly thinks that's a big danger for Christians.

"Church leaders recognise that what's at stake here is potentially gospel freedom, the freedom to preach the gospel of repentance.

"I don't think anybody wants to be in a situation where the law is interfering to the degree that that could happen with the ordinary work of churches."

The King's Speech takes place on November 7th.

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