Arguing for is obviously legal, arguing against , well, that's under discussion. Credit Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cologne_Germany_Cologne-Gay-Pride-2015_Parade-05.jpg

The not too distant past saw homosexual men – that was indeed the description then – prosecuted for the manner in which they had sex with other consenting adults. An outrage. That English law never made quite the same point about lesbian sex is, anecdotally, because Queen Victoria refused to believe such a thing could happen. Nice anecdote but.

We’ve now moved on and the world is a better place for it. Except, well, it’s possible to have more than the tiniest concern about the latest manifestation of this modern liberality. For we’ve now the government girding its loins to make gay conversion therapy illegal. The system used to be that BadThink about sex was illegal, the future system is going to be that BadThink about sex is illegal. It’s a pity that we don’t seem to have had – or if we have it’s been a vanishing moment – of actual liberality about sex inbetween.

The argument in favour of whatever sort of sex consenting adults wish to get up to is chacun a son gout. The argument in favour of consenting adults offering or accepting gay conversion therapy is chacun a son gout. The argument in favour of legality – in fact, the argument in favour of government having entirely bugger all to do with either – is exactly the same in each case. As it is with a predeliction for fly fishing or grimebassthrashmetal if I’ve heard that right just now on the pop radio station.

So-called ‘gay conversion’ therapies are to be banned, the Government has announced.

Ministers have pledged to bring in new laws to prevent charlatans from advertising ‘abhorrent’ treatments that offer to ‘cure’ people of their homosexuality.

Thousands of gay people have been offered the therapy, which claims to be able to make them heterosexual, a survey for the Government found.

It’s simply no business of the government to decide or insist upon what people may say to each other. One obvious problem here is that we need a legal definition of what it is that is being banned. “Have you tried hetero to see if you like it?” could be described as a conversion attempt in a world where not having a cake baked for you is discrimination.

Writing exclusively for The Independent, Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, said that conversion therapy – sometimes referred to as “gay cure” – is “abuse of the worst kind and must be stamped out”.

Or to move from what will obviously be tried on to something a little more subtle. Human sexuality upsets absolutely everyone at some point. The most resolutely cis-hetero whitebread among us included. Some to many go to varied kinds of therapy to aid in dealing with this. Such a ban could – would for those with a penchant for slippery slope arguments – lead to “Would you like to act upon your same sex desires?” being a legal question to ask and “Would you like to stop acting on your same sex desires?” not being so. A legally dodgy and morally ludicrous state of affairs.

Other results show that much more than a culture change is needed: two per cent of those who responded had been through “conversion therapy”, and a further five per cent had been offered it. Conversion therapy can range from pseudo-psychological treatments to in the most extreme cases, surgical interventions and “corrective” rape. This is abuse of the worst kind and must be stamped out.

Rape, whether corrective or not, is already illegal and highly so. “Pseudo-psychological” isn’t something we can ban by law. Not with any pretence at remaining a free country that is.

No, you don’t have to agree with the following but you do need to understand it. The Catholic Church teaches that sexual acts – any sexual acts – not between a man and a woman (note the “a” there) in holy matrimony, open to the possibility of conception, are sinful. Sins lead to your immortal soul being condemned to Hell for all eternity.

Yes, sure, there’s an awful lot of blind eye and real life is more difficult going on there. The Church also doesn’t say that being gay is sinful. But it does say that any sexual acts outside those confines are.

Again, you don’t need to believe this – I don’t either – but you do have to understand it. For if a bloke goes to his parish priest for advice about sex – no, don’t laugh, it does happen – and is told that making love to his, male, soulmate is going to condemn him to torment to the end of the universe, is this “pseudo-psychological” pressure? Is this now that BadThink forbidden by law? And if it isn’t then what about the more vociferous perhaps minister of an independent Protestant church making such an argument more publicly? For it most certainly is psychological pressure, isn’t it?

This year Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told the House of Commons that a ban on such therapy is “long overdue”. A government LGBT action plan due this week is expected to include one. Another Labour MP, Sarah Champion, welcomed the news, telling Buzzfeed: “The concept behind conversion therapy, that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is something that needs to be cured, is highly offensive and incredibly damaging to those exposed to it.” A ban, in short, would mark a step forward in the eyes of many LGBT campaigners.

Highly offensive and damaging? It might well be but those basic points of freedom and liberty do mean that we all get to be so to each other. At least in our speech we do, subject only to incitement to immediate violence and libel/slander restrictions. Because that’s what freedom and liberty mean. Pride marches get to inflict the dredges of Jimmy Sommerville’s career upon us, bigots get to rail against their doing so.

We seem to have zipped from one intolerance to another, only the name of the love that must not speak changing, without that intervening stopover in the only truly liberal position. As long as you’re not actively harming a third party and confining your activities to similarly consenting adults then get on with it and good luck. This applies to the views of Ian Paisley MP (decd) just as much to those of Ben Bradshaw MP.

Or, as is happening in this modern world, apparently not.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Your argument is based on a fatal flaw as to what “gay cure” is about.

    The perpetrators of “Gay Cure Therapies” consider Gay to be a thought crime, not just an action crime. It is an attempt at brain-washing. The Clock-work Orange for poofters. Tantamount to torture.

    If your objection is purely one of consent, will/have you condemned the actions surrounding Operation Spanner? The main (successful) objective of that court case was to establish that consent is irreverent.

    A priest telling you sex outside of marriage is a sin is NOT an equivalent. At least in this country, you have a choice over which religion you practice. Very few have any say over which society surrounds them.

    While I’m certain there are plenty of hetro-haters, politicians know which side their bread is buttered. So any legislation will be oh so neutral. Thus ensuring the wording can be seen to protect cis-hetrosexuals (what ever that’s supposed to mean).

  2. Mr Womby, you are not on a limb at all; the illegality of “conversion therapy” will be prosecuted in only one direction, just as “hate speech” can be exercised toward white people with impunity and nothing happens when the lesbian on the softball team gropes a teammate. Conversion therapy became illegal this year in my US state as well, on the grounds that (1) people playing pretend are an able-minded victim class and (2) the current legislature had done nothing major to help them yet. Homosexual recruitment is the law.

    The “fatal flaw” of “hal” above is typical of the rhetoric under which this stuff is passed. Conversion therapy is “torture” no matter what it consists of (the same fallacy that waterboarding, a terrifying but harmless practice that American warriors themselves undergo in training, was banned, assuring terrorists that they will not experience discomfort in detention). The person playing pretend is on unequal ground unless he has a “say over which society” — that is, to have everyone else accept, celebrate, and adapt to his character disorder. And above all, we must cower from the term “hater.”

    “LGBT people” — lumping together people in very dissimilar situations to form an agitation bloc — take advantage of pandering politicians with no firm concepts, in a nation where even foreign invaders using children as props must be referred to as “dreamers,” and people who cannot accept the bodies into which they were born are owed something by the people who can. This is a society facing its own extinction, and shrugging.

  3. Is gay cure really the worst kind of abuse? Worse than, say the application of red hot pokers? I have my doubts.
    Is it torture? When surgery was, and occasionally is, carried out without anaesthetic it sure was/is painful, but I doubt anyone would describe it as torture. Surely to qualify as torture a procedure needs to be imposed as well as painful.
    Indeed I’ve yet to see evidence that gay cure needs to be painful at all, never mind as painful as having a leg sawn off without anaesthetic.
    Whilst I know it can be ineffective (as can surgery) I can’t swear that it cannot be effective.
    The cardinal point here is that if the patient seeks the treatment for whatever reason seem good to him and knowing what it involves he should be free to do so and others should be free to provide.
    Regardless that those homosexuals (who are usually anything but gay, they usually appear downright grumpy) who don’t want the treatment land up with potentially fewer playmates.
    The whole thing reminds me of Bob Hope’s crack that since they’d just made homosexuality legal in California he’d decided to get out before they made it compulsory.