Campaigners in Northern Ireland today are protesting a visit from American ex-gay leader Reverend Mario Bergner.

The protest is led by journalist Patrick Strudwick, who earlier this month wrote an exposé of the “bizarre world of gay-straight conversion” for The Independent (London). He followed it up with a strong article in The Guardian (London) calling for an all-out “war” on reparative therapy, and announcing the formation of the Stop Conversion Therapy Taskforce (SCOTT).

Of this weekend’s campaign, Strudwick told The Independent:

Love needs no cure. We want to remind the young people in the conference in the midst of so-called treatment that they are healthy, normal, valuable people; they are perfect how they are; they don’t need to try to change something unchangeable and they can be happy being who they really are.

Anglican priest Bergner, of Redeemed Lives, is speaking as part of a conference organized by CORE Issues at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, near Belfast. His most controversial claim is that as a gay man he was healed of the “symptoms” of AIDS through an encounter with Jesus Christ in a hospital room.

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