The Rev. Mario Bergner.

LGBT activists are preparing to protest at this weekend’s conference in Northern Ireland of organisations promoting ‘reparative therapy’.

The ‘Setting Love in Order’ conference, which will feature the Rev. Mario Bergner – head of the Massachusetts-based Redeemed Lives, Inc – as the main speaker, takes place from 19 to 21 February in Ballynahinch, near Belfast.

The event is organised by Core Issues, which says that it is an organisation assisting “Christian men and women emerging from homosexual problems who seek to live according to Biblical standards and in fellowship with the church”.

In the conference brochure, Bergner is described as having “once practiced homosexuality, but is now happily married to wife Nancy and the father of five kids”. His Redeemed Lives ministry claims to help “others overcome sexual sin patterns through a relationship with Jesus Christ”.

The newly formed Stop Conversion Therapy Taskforce (SCOTT) is planning a demonstration on Friday at the conference venue during which it aims “to reach out to the people undergoing ‘treatment’ – to protect vulnerable, brainwashed people who need to know that being LGBT is OK”.

The founder of SCOTT, openly gay journalist Patrick Strudwick said yesterday that the message of the protest against the conference is simple: “Love needs no cure.”

“We want to remind the young LGBT people in the conference who are in the midst of so-called treatment that they are healthy, normal, valuable people; that they are perfect how they are; they don’t need to try to change something that is unchangeable and that they can be happy being who they really are,” he told UK Gay News.

“Our protest will be peaceful, dignified and non-confrontational. We bring love. They offer hate,” he said.

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