UK: Church of England demands ban on conversion therapy

The Church of England has called on the government to ban conversion therapy and has condemned the practice, which aims to change sexual orientation, as unethical and potentially harmful.

At the end of an emotional debate in which two members of the C of E synod described their experiences as spiritual abuse, the church’s governing body overwhelmingly backed a motion saying the practice had “no place in the modern world”.

Conversion therapy is usually described as an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Some churches in the C of E and other denominations have encouraged LGBT members to take part in prayer sessions and other activities to rid them of their “sin”. 

Ed Cox, of the C of E’s youth council, struggled to maintain composure as he spoke of his personal experience of being told his sexual orientation was a lifestyle choice or phase and needed prayer.

“This fundamentally says I was made wrong,” he told the synod. As a result of what he described as spiritual abuse, he suffered severe depression.

John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, said conversion therapy was “theologically unsound, so the sooner the practice of [it] is banned, I can sleep at night”. Read more via the Guardian