NSW Gay Conversion Therapy Bill Offers Exemptions for Religion, Parents

The Minns Government said the bill would “save lives” and outlaw conversion practices such as religious “straight camps” or hypnotherapy sessions designed to change a person’s sexual orientation or identity. The bill was introduced this past week after it was delayed to allow time for more consultation with both LGBTQIA+ and religious groups. The new law would criminalise gay conversion practices where they are proven to cause harm to a person, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Attorney-General Michael Daley said religious leaders who gave sermons about homosexuality being “a sin” were protected under the laws. Independent MP Alex Greenwich, who has campaigned for the ban, has welcomed exemptions for religion and parents as “appropriate” and called for respectful debate on the bill in parliament. NSW Premier Chris Minns said the bill has attempted to take into account concerns that the proposed law would seek to ban religious practices.

“The Government made a decision that prayer, because of its expansive definition wouldn’t be captured… and that’s reflected in the legislation,” he said. “There’s also exemptions for conversations between parents and children, and I think that that’s reasonable as well.” Mr. Daley said religious leaders were not banned from preaching generally about their views on the issue. “Stating what relevant religious teachings are or what a religion says about a topic is not gay conversion,” he said. “Going so far as to say for example, that in our faith, being a homosexual is wrong and it’s a sin and you can go to hell … that’s not a conversion practice.” But he said directing those prayers to someone, with the intention of “praying the gay away”, would be illegal under the laws, if they were proven to cause harm.

Source: Catholic News

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