Quakers back ban on conversion therapy
Quakers in Britain and the Quaker Gender and Sexual Diversity Community (QGSDC) have expressed strong support for a ban on so-called conversion therapy. They shared their views in a joint response to a government consultation on the issue.
Quakers believe that conversion therapy is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment, and that freedom of religion or belief cannot be used legally to justify it.
Quakers actively supported the campaign for equal marriage for same-sex couples. At their recent yearly meeting, they recorded their commitment to acknowledging and welcoming gender diverse people in Quaker communities.
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, said:
"We believe that sexual orientation and gender identity are sacred gifts and we are deeply troubled by practices that seek to change, suppress or 'cure' them. We welcome the government's proposals to ban so-called conversion therapy and hope they will be strengthened and implemented as soon as possible."
In their consultation response, Quakers in Britain set out their religious reasons for opposing conversion therapy. They also highlighted evidence that a ban is needed.
They asked the government to strengthen its proposals by removing a loophole that would allow conversion therapy where an adult has 'consented'. Conversion therapy is harmful and ineffective, so consent is irrelevant.
Quakers and other members of the public are encouraged to respond to the consultation as individuals. You can read Quakers in Britain and QGSDC's response (PDF) for inspiration.