More than 370 figures from major world religions have signed the declaration, which also calls for an end to violence and the criminalization of LGBT + people, according to a press release released on Wednesday.
Statement marks launch of Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT + Lives, supported by key figures from 35 countries, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen and former President of Ireland Mary McAleese.
So-called conversion therapies, also known as restorative treatments, are based on the assumption that sexual orientation can be changed or ‘cured’ – an idea discredited by major medical associations in the UK, United States. -United and elsewhere.
However, they remain legal in many countries, including the UK, despite the country’s current government commitment to end the practice.
In July 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would speed up those plans, and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Department funded an online conference marking the commission’s launch on Wednesday.
Activists also released a video of the statement, featuring senior religious leaders such as the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool.
“For too long, religious teachings have been misused – and still are – to cause deep pain and offend lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queer and intersex,” Bayes said in the press release.
The commission “aims to provide a strong and authoritative voice among those who wish to assert the sanctity of life and the dignity of all,” he added.
The statement asks forgiveness for the harm that certain religious teachings have caused to LGBT + people and calls on everyone to “celebrate inclusion and the extraordinary gift of our diversity”.
The Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, was one of the speakers at Wednesday’s conference.
“There are a lot of LGBT + people suffering emotional injuries and physical violence to the point of dying in countries around the world,” she said in the press release. “For this reason, we join forces as religious leaders to say that we are all beloved children of God.”
In June, the United Nations independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, also called for a global ban on the practice.