Lib Dems back ban on conversion therapy

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The Liberal Democrats have come out in support of a campaign to ban so-called conversion therapy. 

Holyrood's Equalities and Human Rights Committee is currently reviewing a possible ban on forms of therapy that seek to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The End Conversion Therapy (ECT) campaign group wants MSPs to make conversion therapy for LGBT people a criminal offence. 

It also wants changes to the law banning adults from taking a minor out of Scotland to undergo conversion therapy elsewhere. 

With elections in May, ECT wants candidates to include this issue in their campaigns.

The Lib Dems have responded to the call by giving their formal backing to ECT, The i reports. 

Scottish Lib Dem equalities spokeswoman Caron Lindsay said: "Conversion therapy is an antiquated and barbaric practice, which can permanently scar those who suffer through it.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that in this day and age there are organisations dedicated to converting or 'curing' LGBT+ people."

Westminster is also considering a ban on conversion therapy, something that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already committed to. 

The Christian Institute and Christian Concern are among the groups opposing a ban on conversion therapy on the grounds that people should be able to receive help for unwanted same-sex attraction. 

They fear that pastors and other Christians will fall foul of the law simply for questioning homosexuality or transgenderism. 

A recent briefing paper from the Christian Institute warned: "The Government wants to ban practices that seek to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

"'Conversion therapy' is a wide umbrella term chosen by LGBT campaigners. It covers abusive practices by quack medical practitioners and charlatan preachers which are largely illegal already.

"But the campaigners want to go much further: they want to stop people criticising their lifestyle or theology. A conversion therapy ban could hand them a veto on the preaching and practice of churches."