Scotland's 'conversion therapy' ban delayed

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The introduction of a ban on so-called 'conversion therapy' in Scotland has been delayed over fears it could criminalise parents who do not affirm their child's gender identity. 

Legislation on the ban was due to be published by the end of the year, but The Telegraph reports that this has now been replaced by a consultation that will not report until next year. 

A spokesman for the Scottish government told the newspaper: "Conversion practices have no place in our society. We are committed to ending these harmful practices.

"A public consultation containing detailed proposals will be launched by the end of this year.

"This is an extremely important stage of the process of developing legislation and will allow us to provide clear and detailed information on how we intend to address conversion practices in law.

"We look forward to hearing the responses from the public and stakeholders as we take this important work forward."

The promised legislation has been delayed again following concerns over a section of the ban that would stop people from being able to question a child's desire to change their gender. 

Opponents fear that parents, teachers, doctors and religious leaders could be criminalised if they do not affirm the child's wishes. 

The Scottish government has committed to banning so-called 'conversion practices' around both sexual orientation and gender identity "as comprehensively as possible".

Westminster's plans to introduce a conversion therapy ban has also been hit by delays. 

A fresh poll by The Christian Institute has found that there is little appetite among UK voters to introduce such a ban and that they are far more concerned about other issues like NHS waiting times, inflation and the economy. 

Helen Joyce, director of advocacy with gender critical group Sex Matters, has welcomed the delay to Scotland's conversion therapy ban. 

She told The Telegraph that the law must protect "careful, ethical treatment for gender distress". 

"Delaying this harmful and unnecessary bill can only be a good thing. A public consultation will give proponents of evidence-based gender care a welcome chance to make their case," she said.