• Prime Minister Theresa May (AAP) (EPA POOL)Source: EPA POOL
The government has condemned the practice but has not committed to criminalising it.
Michaela Morgan

18 Mar 2017 - 1:15 PM  UPDATED 18 Mar 2017 - 1:15 PM

The UK government has rejected a petition calling for gay conversion therapy to be made illegal.

Created by Molly Mantle, the petition says “it is scientifically proven that this therapy does not work.”

“Conversion Therapy is counselling or training which attempts to 'reverse' a person's non-heterosexual identity," the petition reads. 

European first: Malta bans gay conversion therapy
“No sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort.”

“This therapy often includes electric shocks, counsellors encouraging suicide, and damaging ideology linking LGBT+ identities to sexual abuse from family members in early years.”

The petition has reached just over 33,000 signatures—needing 100,000 for the issue to be debated in parliament.

However, the UK government has already responded, saying that it fully recognises “the importance of this issue and the adverse impact this treatment could have on lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

The response acknowledges the harm that conversion therapy can cause but does not address the petition’s aim to make the practice illegal.

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“There is no evidence that this sort of treatment is beneficial, and indeed it may well cause significant harm to some patients.

“It is incumbent on professionals working in the National Health Service to ensure that treatment and care, including therapy, is provided to every patient without any form of discrimination.

“This Government is committed to tackling discrimination towards LGB people.”

The petition has a deadline of June 19 to reach 100,000 signatures. 

Malta became the first European country to ban gay conversion therapy in December 2016.