CNA Staff, Dec 10, 2020 / 20:11 pm
A bill seeking to ban so-called conversion therapy for sexual orientation or gender identity in the Australian state of Victoria dangerously oversteps the bounds of protecting people from coercive practices, the Archbishop of Melbourne said.
"I encourage every action to protect people from harm. A bill that protected people would have my full support," Archbishop Peter Comensoli said in a statement.
"The problem is this bill doesn't merely do what it claims. It targets prayer, and appears to impose silence on people of faith from sharing their beliefs in an open, honest and faithful way. The bill imposes on the right of parents and children to speak plainly and honestly with one another. It robs adults from seeking whatever guidance and pastoral support they seek concerning deeply personal matters," he said.
Comensoli has been a strong opponent of Victoria's Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020, which was introduced in late November. The bill would outlaw practices that encourage individuals to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity and thereby cause undue harm. It would also outlaw sending someone out of state to partake in such practices. Those in violation of the law would face $10,000 in fines or 10 years in prison.