We asked a senior lawyer whether each of the scenarios below could be caught by the kind of conversion therapy ban sought by activists.
In every case he said ‘yes’.

Private prayer

A church member wrestling with same-sex attraction asks both the pastor and a church friend to pray with him. Years later he joins a ‘gay affirming’ church. He decides the prayer support was really conversion therapy. He reports the pastor and his former friend to the authorities.


A Christian shares her faith with a friend at work. The colleague is interested but reacts angrily when she learns that all people must repent of sin, including sexual sins. She is in a same-sex relationship. She tracks down her colleague’s church online and reports her and the church. She claims they told her she would ‘go to hell for being gay’ in an attempt to change her.


A teenager tells her school teacher that her Christian parents are trying to ‘stop her being gay’. She says they pleaded with her not to pursue same-sex relationships and urged her to ‘repent and trust in Jesus’. The teacher reports the parents for subjecting the girl to conversion therapy.

Pastoral advice

A teenage girl tells her church youth leader she feels attracted to other girls. The leader sensitively encourages her to read the Bible, pray, and avoid fantasising about wrong relationships. The girl does not pursue her faith. Years later she accuses the leader of trying to suppress her sexual orientation.

Preaching and teaching

A lesbian activist visits church on a day when the minister – who knows her personally – is preaching on sexual ethics. He teaches that sex is a gift reserved for marriage between a man and woman, and says singleness is an honourable calling. She reports this as an attempt to change or suppress her sexual orientation.

Church membership

A church removes a man from membership for being persistently unfaithful to his wife. He is told he will be restored to membership only if he repents. Since the unfaithfulness involves homosexual activity, the man accuses the church of trying to suppress his sexual orientation.

Baptism and confirmation

An Anglican church requires candidates for adult baptism or confirmation to attend classes. These cover ‘Christian living’, including sexual ethics. A candidate strongly objects to hearing that homosexual relationships are wrong. He is told he cannot be baptised unless he accepts the Bible’s teaching. He reports the church to the authorities for trying to change his sexual orientation.


A Grace Baptist church protects people from taking communion in an “unworthy manner” (1 Cor. 11:27-28) by only serving it to believers who are not involved in “known sin not repented of”. An openly gay visitor from a liberal church learns he cannot take communion. He says the refusal is an attempt to change his sexual behaviour and reports the church.