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World News

'We have listened and we have acted': Gov extend gay conversion therapy consultation

by Marcus Jones

A government consultation looking for public input on the issue of gay conversion therapy has been extended as ministers seek to allow more time for feedback.

They're committed to banning all forms of therapy but many Christians are concerned that could go further and cover prayer and pastoral support for those with unwanted same sex attraction.

The government was accused of rushing the consultation in order to pass legislation quickly.

Announcing the extension, Minister for Equalities Mike Freer said: "We have listened and we have acted, to ensure that the full range of opinions are represented, and that everyone who wants to has a chance to comment on our proposals.

"The focus for the ban will be on those who actively seek to change someone's sexuality or transgender status, with protection for young people a particular priority.

"We have already consulted extensively with faith leaders, clinicians, LGBT stakeholders, and other stakeholder groups, and I am confident that our proposals strike the correct balance to stamp out coercive conversion therapy, whilst protecting free speech.

"I urge everyone who has not yet done so to make their views known, so we can work together to stamp out this abhorrent practice for good."

The extension, which adds an extra eight weeks for people take part, has been welcomed by the Let Us Pray campaign, set up to combat any attempts to ban prayer and pastoral support. Spokesman Simon Calvert said: "Anyone who has followed the news on this has seen that the wheels are coming off the government's proposals on conversion therapy. There are lots of concerns being raised. It was always a bad idea to only have a six week consultation - we have been pointing that out from the beginning.

"It gives more time for more people to respond and I'd strongly encourage Christians to do that. This extra eight weeks that we've now got, gives us opportunity to talk to family, friends, people in our churches."

Despite much campaigning from LGBT groups, the government has stated prayer won't be included in any changes to legislation. It also won't stop parents being able to raise their children in line with their faith.

The Government has, however, confirmed that it is its intent to bring about a ban on all other conversion therapy.
 

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