Members of the Church’s national assembly voted to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy signed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and others condemning the practice.
The joint statement describes Conversion Therapy as unethical, potentially harmful and having “no place in the modern world”.
The motion was moved by Jayne Ozanne, who represents laity in the Diocese of Oxford. Opening the debate, Ms Ozanne said: “In short, conversation therapy is harmful, dangerous and just doesn’t work.
“People may be able to alter their behaviour but they can never alter their innate desire.
” She added: “This debate is actually quite simple. Do we trust our medical health professions and academics (including many sincere godly Christians) to know what they are talking about?”
Speaking during the debate the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “The sooner the practice of socalled conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night.” But writing on the Premier Christianity blog, Ed Shaw, a same sex attracted Christian who chooses to remain celibate, explained why he voted against the motion: “there was no clear definition of what exactly we were banning…Ambiguity was allowed to develop about what we were trying to get rid of – would responsible prayer ministry and every day pastoral care of LGBT people be affected by the ban? We were told not, but given no guarantees, and without such clarity I couldn’t support a motion that could undermine the church’s future loving care of people like me.”
In related news, the General Synod also voted overwhelmingly in favour of welcoming transgender people.
The motion said: “That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”