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World News

Methodist Church reaffirms views on conversion therapy amid Government criticisms

by Sophie Drew

The Methodist Church has reaffirmed its stance on conversion therapy as the Government continues to battle criticism for the proposed ban.

The use of conversion therapy was already banned within the Methodist Church in 2021.

However, if someone is experiencing same-sex attraction but does not wish to, they may still seek council within their church. In this instance, leaders can discuss ‘open exploration with no significance being placed on any particular perceived outcome as being preferable’.

The Methodist Church took part in a recent Government consultation on Conversion Therapy stating it supported a ban on Conversion Therapy and saying: “In adopting the Memorandum of Understanding of Conversion Therapy our position is that any conversion theory assumes that a particular sexual orientation or gender identity is preferable. This assumption is at odds with our position affirming dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality or gender. Therefore, we ask the Government to remove the conscience clause for over 18’s and ban conversion therapy in all situations”.

The Government is currently facing criticism for its u-turn on conversion therapy; they previously said that current legislation (which outlaws abusive practices) was adequate, but plans for a ban have now been put back on the table. 

The decision has frustrated some Christians that believe the new law would criminalise church leaders sharing traditional Biblical teachings.

However, other believers welcome the new proposals, but wish the Government would extend the legislation to include members of the transgender community. 

The Assistant Secretary of the Methodist Conference – the governing body of the Church -  the Revd Michaela Youngson said, "The Methodist Church position is that, regardless of government decisions, it is not permitted for conversion therapy, including trans conversion therapy, to take place on Methodist premises and that no conversion therapy can take place in the name of the Methodist Church.”

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