Today, Baroness Burt’s landmark Bill to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices will get its first reading.
The Conversion Therapy Prohibition Bill which is set to be formally debated in the new year will make it an offence for any person to practise, or to offer to practise, conversion therapy in the UK.
Commenting ahead of the first reading, the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Equality Baroness Burt said:
"It is very disappointing that the Conservatives have failed to deliver on their promise to ban conversion therapy for five years now. But we Liberal Democrats are more than willing to help them out by introducing the Bill ourselves.
"There is cross-party consensus for dealing with this awful practice and I look forward to working with colleagues across Parliament to deliver the change we all desperately want to see - finally banning conversion therapy."
Notes to Editors:
Private Members’ Bills do not seek to be extensive or overly detailed – that type of legislation is typically left for the Government to produce – however, the Liberal Democrats are using this legislative tool to introduce basic legislation to end the practice of conversion therapy.
The formal title of the Bill is Conversion Therapy Prohibition (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Bill.
The Bill will make it an offence for any person to practise, or offer to practice, conversion therapy.
The Bill defines ‘conversion therapy’ as any practice aimed at a person or group of people which demonstrates an assumption that any sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently preferable and which has the intended purpose of attempting to (a) change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or (b) suppress a person’s expression of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Bill is drafted in such a way to require the police to demonstrate both action and motivation when attempting to prosecute in relation to this offence.
The Bill is drafted in this way to robustly differentiate between psychological practice or religious advice and conversion therapy. E.g a therapist who is exploring gender dysphoria with a young person with no malintent to perform conversion therapy.
A person guilty of an offence under the provisions of the Bill will be liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 of the standard scale.
The Bill extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.