Majority of Brits support gay conversion therapy ban - poll


A majority of British adults support a ban on so-called gay conversion therapy. 

The Government is expected to announce plans to ban the practice soon.  

The poll by YouGov on behalf of the Ozanne Foundation found that nearly two thirds of the public (62%) agree that conversion therapy should be banned.  It was opposed by only 14%. 

Conversion therapy was defined in the poll as being "where people seek to change someone's sexual orientation, sexual behaviour or gender identity". 

The survey of 1,671 adults also found that while just under a quarter (24%) "did not know" if there should be a ban, this was higher among those with a religious affiliation (28%). 

A ban on coversion therapy is supported by the Church of England. 

The founder of the Ozanne Foundation, Jayne Ozanne, who has been campaigning for LGBT equality in the Church of England, said conversion therapy was an "abhorrent practice". 

"These results show that the majority of the British people, including those who are religious, agree that 'conversion therapy' should be banned," she said.

"We know that this is currently still being practiced by religious groups across the UK and we urgently ask the government to act in order to safeguard young people's lives. A ban will ensure a clear signal is given that this abhorrent practice will not be tolerated in the UK."

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, said he supported a ban. 

"These results are very clear. Only a small minority of people believe that there should not be a ban," he said.

"The Church of England's Synod voted in 2017 that there should indeed be a ban, and it is now two years since the government itself made a commitment to act in this matter.

"For as long as there is delay, people will continue to be vulnerable to this form of oppression. It really has to stop."

Christian groups like Christian Concern, The Christian Institute and the Core Issues Trust have raised concerns that a ban on gay conversion therapy will unfairly prevent people from receiving help with unwanted same-sex attraction. 

Mike Davidson, founder of the Core Issues Trust, a ministry offering support for men and women who want help with unwanted homosexual feelings, said a ban on such therapy would be "inhumane". 

"Are we really saying that a man who is married and finds himself attracted to the same sex but wants to save his marriage and protect his children is going to be forbidden from receiving help?" he told Christian Today

"And what about those who tell us that their feelings for the same sex arose after being sexually abused and they want help with that?

"Are we honestly saying that they cannot receive that help? Because if we are, that is inhumane. A ban will ride roughshod over a minority identity." 

He raised concerns about the implications for free speech, including for pastors who preach an orthodox position on sexuality. 

"To be frank, if it's us now, it will be the pastors next. If the counsellors and the therapists are forbidden from doing this work, I doubt very much whether the churches will escape," he said.