A proposed law in Wales could threaten the religious freedom of pastors and their ability to provide counseling to people with unwanted same-sex attractions, a Christian advocacy group has warned.
The draft version of the LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales, published by the devolved government of Wales in July, seeks to ban “all aspects” of sexual orientation change efforts therapy, or what’s often derisively known as “conversion therapy.”
While the plan states that its goal is to “improve the recognition of LGBTQ+ people” and “advance LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion,” some Christians fear it would restrict pastors’ ability to counsel their parishioners, and put them at risk of facing a hate crime charge if they share their biblically-based beliefs about human sexuality.
One proposal included in the plan calls for the Programme for Government to ban “all aspects of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy.” Many religious leaders and Christian therapists seek to provide those with unwanted same-sex attraction with counseling and therapy.
In recent years, several Western governments have implemented or sought to impose bans on so-called “conversion therapy,” primarily at the state and local level. Carys Moseley of the U.K.-based legal and advocacy group Christian Concern warned about the consequences bans on therapy might have for the religious community.
Specifically, Moseley expressed concern that “the Welsh government wants people to be able to report faith leaders to the police for ‘hate incidents.’” Moseley cited the Integrated Impact Assessment of the LGBTQ+ Action Plan, which states the Welsh government’s intent to “take an intersectional approach and build on the existing work of faith leaders in Wales to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and support many LGBTQ+ people to express their own faiths or beliefs.” FULL REPORT