Jan 17, 2024

Parents who refuse to let their children change gender and advocates of traditional marriage could face up to seven years in jail under Scottish Government plans to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

Under the proposals published last week, actions designed to “change or suppress” someone’s sexual orientation or ‘gender identity’, causing him or her physical or psychological harm, would be illegal. The plans would allow for pre-emptive civil orders, even where ‘conversion practices’ have not yet taken place.

An example given of an action that would be illegal was stopping someone from “dressing in a way that reflects their sexual orientation or gender identity”, even if parents believed they were acting in a child’s best interests.

The potential for such laws to penalise parents and ministers of religion who promote man-woman marriage has been highlighted previously by former Telegraph Editor Charles Moore. A vicar could be criminalised for counselling a married man against committing adultery with another man. Gay atheist Douglas Murray issued a warning along these lines in The Spectator.

This clearly goes far beyond any reasonable definition of harmful ‘conversion practices’, which are already illegal in the UK under existing law.

In fact, as Julie Bindel points out in The Daily Telegraph, encouraging the young to think they should change gender is surely itself a form of conversion therapy.

The new law would be an extraordinary intrusion into free speech, family life and religious liberty, and marriage would once again be the loser. We urge the Scottish Government to think again.