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Statement on Friday's Conversion Practice Debate

On Friday March 8 a bill to ban conversion practices was debated in Parliament. 68 MPs attended, the overwhelming majority of whom were in support of the ban.

However, government opposition made it impossible to close the debate. Despite their own repeated promises to get a ban done, senior members of the cabinet spoke against the bill, and the lack of support enabled a small minority to filibuster (when one or more opponents of a bill intentionally run out the clock before a vote can be made).

Although the bill was unsuccessful, Friday was still important for lots of reasons. First, it reconfirms what we already know: That this government is not serious about ending the abuse of conversion practices, just as they have not been serious about healthcare, education, and the rest of LGBT policy for the past six years.

Secondly, it lays the groundwork for a quick, comprehensive path to a ban with the next government. We are grateful to Lloyd Russell-Moyle, his team, our community members who wrote to their MPs, and everyone else who got this bill into Parliament. 

However, the legislation that went to debate on Friday made too many compromises. By trying to address the concerns of opposing groups, particularly far-right religious and anti-trans interests, the draft bill ultimately failed to protect the people who need it most.

We are not opposed to compromise and consensus, but it is clear that this does not work. Despite the best efforts of Mr Russell-Moyle and his team, no amount of compromise could persuade the opposition to do the right thing and put a stop to these abuses. 

The path forward is now clear: The next leader of this country must act swiftly to enact a ban on conversion practices within their first hundred days. We need a ban that protects people of faith, trans people, people who are coerced or manipulated, and everyone else at risk of these abusive practices. 

The UK is being left behind on conversion practices, as more and more nations around the world pass forward-thinking, effective bans. If we are going to catch up we need smart, committed leadership for queer people in this country.  Our communities should not have to accept a weak ban when the path to strong, globally leading legislation is clear.

GI will continue to fight for a ban on conversion practices until we have stamped out this abuse completely. We look forward to working with the next government to make sure it happens, and that it happens soon.

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