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The New South Wales Government has been accused of ramming its conversion practices ban through Parliament in a marathon debate before the law was passed on Friday. Source: The Catholic Weekly. 

The upper house approved the legislation without amendments after 6am on March 22, a little over a week after it was introduced in the lower house.

The new laws outlaw therapies or violence aimed at “converting” LGBT persons to heterosexuality or traditional gender norms.

It also makes provisions for the expression and practice of religious belief about sexuality and human relationships, in response to faith leaders’ concerns that the legislation would erode religious freedom in the state.

But religious freedom advocates say gaps still remain which may allow the new law to encroach too far into faith and family life.

Criticisms of the bill also included that it was unnecessary given existing laws, may potentially promote harmful treatment of gender-confused children, and prevent some people, including people of faith, from accessing the support they need or providing the support requested of them.

The bill passed swiftly through the lower house and an attempt to refer the bill to a parliamentary inquiry to allow for public consultation and scrutiny was overturned by a close vote in the upper house earlier this month.

Debate on the bill began around 11pm on March 21, a decision that Liberal MLC Damien Tudehope said was an “abuse of democracy” and the “height of arrogance.”

Independent MLC Mark Latham also opposed the late-night sitting, calling it a “shameful tactic” and the “politics of exhaustion.”

A number of proposed amendments, supported by faith leaders, were defeated during the overnight debate.

Sydney Archdiocese’s public affairs and engagement director Monica Doumit said the bill was better than its Victorian counterpart, but goes further in restricting freedom of faith and parental rights than similar laws in Queensland and the ACT.


Conversion therapy ban passes NSW parliament after marathon overnight debate (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly