Take immediate action to ban conversion therapy in Scotland, say MSPs

Holyrood’s Equalities Committee said there was no need to wait to see what legislation that Westminster brings in to tackle the issue.

Neil Pooran
Tuesday 25 January 2022 13:37
Conversion therapy seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Conversion therapy seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Quick action should be taken to bring in a ban on conversion therapy n Scotland a committee of MSPs has said.

Holyrood’s Equalities Committee has been carrying out an inquiry on conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Both the Scottish and UK Governments have committed to bringing in a ban on conversion therapy, though a report from the committee says ministers in Edinburgh should not wait to hear the proposals from Westminster before pursuing their own legislation.

The committee’s report, released on Tuesday, says the legislation should make clear there is no such thing as informed consent to conversion practices.

MSPs carried out an inquiry into conversion therapy (Jane Barlow/PA)

The MSPs noted that a majority of religious organisations supported a ban, saying the prohibition should not restrict ordinary religious teaching.

In November, the Scottish Government said an expert group was being set up to advise the Scottish Government on how to ban conversion therapy by the end of 2023.

Committee convener, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, said: “These unacceptable conversion practices have gone on for far too long.

“It is clear from our scrutiny that it is happening in Scotland and existing legislation is not strong enough to prevent it.

“Nobody can consent to conversion practices.

“Any attempts to change someone’s gender or sexuality is wrong and that is why we believe that nothing less than a complete ban will suffice.”

He continued: “There is therefore no time to waste and we must focus our efforts on Scotland-specific legislation to end this practice.

“A swift, comprehensive ban will ensure no LGBTI+ person is subjected to the ordeal of conversion practices ever again.”

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