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(OSV News/Rebecca Noble, Reuters)

The Hobart Archdiocese has submitted a response to the Tasmanian Government’s draft legislation seeking to ban “conversion practices” in relation to same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria.

The submission warns that although the Government’s draft bill includes exemptions for religious beliefs and the right of parents to guide their children, the basic view underpinning the legislation is opposed to biological reality and to Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

“We cannot support this kind of legislation which is based on a lie about the human person and human sexuality,” the Archdiocese’s submission states.

“It is important to be clear that the Catholic Church, in the strongest terms, denounces any efforts to stigmatise or treat unjustly those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria or any effort to force them to undergo some therapy or practice against their will.

“But it is also unjust for the Government to seek to impose restrictions on public expression with regard to topics like the morality of human sexuality, of which reasonable individuals acting in good faith can disagree.”

The Government’s Justice Miscellaneous (Conversion Practices) Bill 2024 states that a “conversion practice” is “a practice that attempts to change or eradicate the sexual orientation or gender identity of another person”.

By way of providing exemptions it also states that, “a practice that amounts to no more than the expression of an opinion, idea or belief, including a statement of religious principle or parental guidance by a person is not a conversion practice for the purposes of the bill”.

While the Archdiocese’s response acknowledges the Government’s attempt “to provide certain defences and exemptions to ensure that basic freedoms of speech, expression and religion are protected”, it rejects the bill’s underlying view of human sexuality.

“It is the basic premise of the bill that we are unable to accept and support as this itself constitutes an attack on Christianity and the freedom to express Christian beliefs,” the submission states.

Public consultation on draft Bill closes on Friday.


Catholic Church rejects Tasmanian bill on ‘conversion practices’ (By Catherine Sheehan, Hobart Archdiocese)