Church of England demands government action on conversion therapy

The Synod meeting of the Church of England made history Saturday, calling for a ban on conversion therapy. Logo provided.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

While mental health professionals and LGBT+ activists have roundly condemned so-called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, many conservative churches have been slow to act. And despite a nationwide effort, so far only nine states have banned what many describe both as torture and child abuse.

So it is encouraging that the Church of England’s Synod meeting yesterday condemned the practice of conversion therapy, and called on the government to ban the practice.

According to Church Times, the website of the Church, “The private member’s motion was introduced on Saturday by Jayne Ozanne, a lay representative from Oxford diocese who has described how undergoing such therapy resulted in her having two breakdowns. It asked the Synod to endorse a statement issued this year by professional bodies, including the Royal College of GPs and UK Council for Psychotherapy, which states that conversion therapy ‘has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.’

“Conversion therapy was ‘a form of abuse’, she said, ‘from which vulnerable adults need protecting’.”

According to The Guardian’scoverage of the Synod meeting, “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.”

All three houses of the synod meeting – bishops, clergy and laity - approved the resolution. In the bishops’ meeting only one bishop voted no.

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, said during the debate: "The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night,” reported the Independent.

Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Twitter photo.

The Independent continued, “The vote sends out a strong message to the world that the church does not see homosexuality as a crime, said Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes.

Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes. Photo by

“He said: ‘As the world listens to us the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a crime. LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sin. We must distinguish between an ascetic and a therapeutic approach. In the Church we are certainly called to help one another to conform their lives to Jesus Christ and to live lives of holiness, but we do not need to engage people in healing therapy if they are not sick.’"

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – July 9, 2017 @ 3:20 p.m.