The Victorian Government’s bill to ban gay conversion therapy targets prayer and the right of people of faith to share beliefs in an open way, Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli said yesterday. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
Archbishop Comensoli issued an official statement following the introduction of the proposed bill, which purports to protect vulnerable people from harm through conversion therapies.
Archbishop Comensoli said he encouraged “every action to protect people from harm” but explained the proposed 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,” Archbishop Comensoli said.
“No government has an interest in what a person prayers for, who they pray to, who they pray with, or what conversations happen between members of a family.”
Archbishop Comensoli said that despite the proposed laws “affecting religious communities in such a direct way, faith groups were afforded little consultation and were not shown a draft of this bill before its publication”.
“The ultimate outcome of this bill may not actually be to protect anyone who is vulnerable, but to silence people of faith from expressing a view,” Archbishop Comensoli said.
The Andrews Government intends to push the laws through the state’s lower house this week before Parliament rises for Christmas, as key crossbench MPs in the upper house commit to backing the laws in a vote early next year, The Age reports.
Statement re Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 (Melbourne Catholic)
Andrews government ignores Liberal calls for delay on gay conversion law (By Paul Sakkal, The Age)