a ‘gay cure’ is a fiction borne from prejudice and fear
The notion that you can cure people of homosexuality, like you can cure them of headaches or a penchant for reality television, is one of those outlandish notions that hangs around like a bad cold. There always seems to be someone who has it.
The organisation CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) is one of those afflicted. Earlier this year one of its directors moderated the Core Issues Trust conference “The Lepers Among Us: Homosexuality and the Life of the Church”, the subject of the Villains article “On US gay-conversion tactics … again”. Furthermore, CARE shares a director with the Anglican Mainstream, the group that, along with Core Issues Trust, proposed the campaign to run pro ex-gay slogans on London buses. CARE is also one of the founder groups behind the Coalition for Marriage, an organisation that believes equal marriage is a form of discrimination, and has a tendency to stack the decks with crooked polls supporting that view. This group of people has, through its various organisations, been very extremely busy this year.
CARE has been making sure that its message is heard in the back-channels of government by providing interns to MPs. CARE states that the interns are not involved in lobbying, but it would be naïve not to believe that any influence is exerted. Phillip Dawson started the petition “MPs should sever links with the Christian charity CARE which co-sponsored a ‘gay cure’ event”, in January, 2012. When the petition was launched, 18 MPs were called on to sever links with CARE, and now that list is down to 13. Dawson has been using social media with great effect to make people aware of these practices, and has even been accused by the MP Gary Streeter of running “an aggressive campaign based on falsehoods”. It is apparently proof enough to say it because Streeter has no evidence to back that up, which makes him rather like CARE, and rather like the MP who brought CARE to Dawson’s attention, David Burrowes.
The Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, the subject of the opinion piece ‘It’s A Nice Day for a White Wedding’, has been vocal in his support of the anti-gay crusade. He has defended the Coalition for Marriage, and thinks that anyone who opposes his stand is a bigot, an untenable stance laid out in the article ‘Same-Sex Marriage Storm of the Week’.
The petition Dawson started now has 9,500 signatures. One of the MPs who withdrew from the internship as a result of the petition, Catherine McKinnell, stated “I have taken the decision to terminate my collaboration with CARE’s internship programme with immediate effect, and I will not be taking an intern from the CARE Leadership Programme in the future”. The MPs who, as the petition states “have made declarations of material support”, and still hold interns from CARE are:
Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, Berwick-Upon-Tweed (LibDem)
David Burrowes MP, Enfield Southgate (Con)
Paul Burstow MP, Sutton and Cheam (LibDem)
Alistair Burt MP, North East Bedfordshire (Con)
Stephen Crabb MP, Preseli Pembrokeshire (Con)
John Glen MP, Salisbury (Con)
Stephen O’Brien MP, Eddisbury (Con)
James Paice MP, South East Cambridgeshire (Con)
Andrew Selous MP, South West Bedfordshire (Con)
Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Meriden (Con)
Gary Streeter MP, South West Devon (Con)
Desmond Swayne MP, New Forest West (Con)
Steve Webb MP, Northavon (LibDem)
There is no place for this type of negative thinking in a democracy. The idea that there is a is a ‘gay cure’ is a fiction borne from prejudice and fear. As The Royal College of Psychiatrists has made clear, “There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”