News Item

Shining a light on Victoria’s dangerous ‘conversion’ ban

ACL’s highly anticipated ‘LGBT Conversion Legislation Online Forum’ was a success last Tuesday, 9 June 2020, with around 250 participants Zooming into our webinar.

We are especially grateful to our three speakers: Professor John Whitehall, Dr Caroline Norma and Rev Murray Campbell. They provided well-rounded perspectives on the proposed legislation from medical, social and pastoral perspectives. We applaud their courage and determination for standing up for truth, despite facing direct pressure for participating in our forum.

The Australian Christian Lobby does not support any coercive conversion practice, nor do any of the forum speakers. However, we all share common concerns about how this proposed legislation is shaped in a way that no other approach on sexual orientation and gender identity is allowed apart from the ‘affirming’ approach. The Andrews government’s broad definition of ‘conversion practice’ not only denies anyone, especially children, the ‘watchful waiting’ treatment, as mentioned by Professor Whitehall, but sends children into chemical or surgical castration. On one hand it is putting children in harms way, and on another, abolishing freedom of speech, association and expression.

Why do some doctors champion the ‘affirmative’ approach despite many other doctors being alarmed at the irreversible harms it brings? 

The Victorian Government’s Discussion Paper on the proposed legislation alleges, with no tangible proof, that churches and Christian groups practice harmful ‘conversion practices’. There is no evidence of harmful conversion practices in Australia, yet the government gives Victorians the impression that harmful or coercive conversion practices are widespread among Christian churches.

Rev Campbell emphasised that the types of coercive conversion therapy alleged are not rooted in Christianity, and receive zero support from churches and pastors. Sadly, the Andrews government adopts a broad definition that could brand as ‘harmful’ everyday Christian practices such as pastoral care, bible study, preaching, prayer, self-control, abstinence – indeed, any Christian practices that affirm biological sex and biblical perspectives on marriage.

In fact, Rev Campbell observed, such legislation goes further than banning harmful or coercive practices, it also compels Christians and churches to comply with new social and sexual ethics. 

Christians in Victoria have many reasons for grave concern with this legislation. ACL supporters in Victoria made 5,300 submissions last year to the inquiry on the proposed legislation. Since then, the government has released no report, nor tabled a Bill in parliament.

This is a crucial time to pray and raise awareness. Let me encourage you to inform your pastor and Christian friends about this proposed LGBT conversion legislation. Together, we will make a difference!

Watch Rev Murray Campbell from the forum:

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