Christian group threatens government with legal action over conversion therapy ban

Apr 12, 2022 by

from Christian Concern:

Christian Concern has threatened the government with legal action if it goes ahead with its proposed ‘conversion therapy’ ban.

The group says that if the government goes ahead with any of its proposals as part of the Queen’s Speech on 10 May, it will bring legal proceedings.

This would involve an application for a Declaration of Incompatibility under Section 4 of the Human Rights Act as a ban would infringe freedom of the individual to exercise personal autonomy rights. It would also raise serious questions about compatibility with other Articles of the Convention, including Article 9 which guarantees religious freedom. This would make any legislation banning “conversion therapy” in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

By constitutional convention Parliament would then be bound to pass amending legislation or to repeal it altogether.

Christian Concern has published a legal opinion by Christian Legal Centre lawyer Roger Kiska, who specialises in International Human Rights law, questioning the lawfulness of the proposed ban.

The opinion states: “That the new law addressing ‘talking conversion therapy’ would have significant legal and social consequences, particularly for those who have legal capacity and desire counselling, for their own reasons, to move away from same-sex attraction or behaviour, or to reconcile their gender identity with their biological sex.”

It adds that: “A ban could also affect practitioners caught up in an overly broad or ill-defined ban on ‘conversion therapy’, despite practising within a peer regulated and ethical framework. This could give rise to claims under Protocol 1, Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

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