The Church of England's General Synod has agreed to endorse a statement condemning 'conversion therapy' aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay people.
The motion was brought by Jayne Ozanne, who said conversion therapy was 'unethical, harmful and has no place in the modern world'. She described it as 'abuse from which vulnerable people need protection' and said: 'Sexual orientation and gender identities are not mental disorders. Treating as sick or disordered someone who wants to change their sexual identity reinforces the notion that it is sinful.'
The Synod agreed to endorse an amendment proposed by Canon Dr Jamie Harrison, endorsing a the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy from November 2015, signed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and
others, that 'the practice of gay conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence'.
The Synod also agreed to 'call upon the Church to be sensitive to, and to listen to,
contemporary expressions of gender identity' and to call on the Government to ban the practice of conversion therapy.
In a debate Several members of expressed reservations about voting for the motion on the grounds that the Synod was not a body with professional expertise in the area. Others expressed fears that they could be censured for praying with people who were seeking help to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction.
However, in a debate that was sometimes emotional but remained calm and courteous, the motion was overwhelmingly carried in all three houses – bishops, clergy and laity.