Conversion therapy ban to be delayed

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There are media reports that government plans to ban so-called conversion therapy are being delayed.

ITV News reports that equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has paused work on the ban since taking over her new post. She reportedly wants to review the plans.

A committee of MPs and Lords was expected to scrutinise a bill in the spring.

The Conservative government first promised to ban conversion therapy four years ago under former prime minister Theresa May.

In his time as prime minister, Boris Johnson promised evangelicals that the ban would not include prayer or other forms of pastoral support in churches.

The promise came in response to a letter of concern from the Evangelical Alliance.

The Johnson government also removed trans conversion therapy from the legislation, limiting the reach to sexuality.

Evangelicals are afraid that a ban will in reality criminalise pastors and ordinary church activities.

There is also a growing movement of ex-LGBT people, including many Christians, who say they were helped by therapy.

Liam Hayden, of X-Outloud, said at a conference earlier this year that it was therapy that helped him break free from unwanted same-sex attraction.

"Through the counselling and through understanding where the problem came from, I was able to then bring those issues before God and I was then able to receive healing from it and let it go to God ... Today I am here, I'm still living, it hasn't harmed me," he said.

"If someone wants to take that [therapy] away from me, then you might as well have come into my room and pushed me out the window that day.

"If shame was removed by God and through counselling, if my traumas have been healed so greatly, then does this prove that I was harmed, that I was a victim? Or that I am healed and am a victor?"