Melbourne Archbishop says bill to ban conversion therapies ‘way oversteps the mark’
Queensland and the ACT last year introduced bans on conversion therapy, making the practice a criminal offence.
Victoria is in the process of introducing legislation to do the same.
The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 has passed the lower house 55-0, and is now awaiting a vote in the upper house.
The legislation would ban practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
But it faces opposition from some within religious communities, with Catholic and Muslim leaders today publishing a full-page open letter in The Age saying the legislation goes too far, and will “criminalise” conversations between parents and children.
Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli, says there hasn’t been proper consultation with religious communities.
“The intention of the bill is to outlaw certain coercive practices, which [I] absolutely support and encourage, this bill then goes way beyond just that sort of reality,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“It enters into those sort of personal and private conversations that might happen in a family. It enters into the thoughts of spiritual and pastoral conversations that might happen between a priest and one of their parishioners.
“General conversations that might be able to help people understand their circumstances, to then pastorally walk with them, they should be allowed.
“I think the bill … while the intent is around coercive practices it way oversteps that mark.”
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