Bishops urge lawmakers to ban ‘abusive and traumatising’ conversion therapy in Wales

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The Church in Wales’ Bench of Bishops has publicly backed a conversion therapy ban, describing the practice as “abusive and traumatising”.

The five bishops, each of whom lead one of the Church of Wales‘ six dioceses, released a statement in response to the Queen’s speech on Tuesday (11 May), in which it was announced that a conversion therapy ban will soon be brought forward to parliament.

They said: “The Bench of Bishops in the Church in Wales welcomes the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the UK Government will ban gay conversion therapy.

“We believe that human sexuality is a gift of God to be cherished and honoured. It is an intrinsic part of who we are as human beings and an expression of God’s glorious diversity in creation.

“Anything which seeks to suggest that there is something inherently wrong or sinful in those who are non-heterosexual or which seeks to force people to try and change their sexuality is, we believe, wrong.

“It is both abusive and traumatising; as those who have experienced such ‘therapy’ can testify.”

The bishops said their stance echoed the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals “in asserting that the practice of gay conversion therapy inflicts life-long damage on those who are forced to undergo it and has no place in the modern world”.

They added: “We understand that the Senedd will also consider this matter, and urge the Senedd to bring in robust legislation that will ban conversion therapy in all its forms thereby offering protection to LGBTQI+ people in Wales from this abusive and damaging practice.”

The Bench of Bishops usually has six members, but is currently is short by one as the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, retired this month. The bench has a “particular responsibility for issues of faith, mission and ministry”.

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