The Australian Christian Lobby urges Victorian members of parliament to resist any push to penalise mums, dads or others' faith-based discussion with their children, family or congregational members about issues of sexuality or gender.
ACL understands so-called 'LGBT conversion' legislation will be tabled later this month and could pass before Christmas.
“We condemn coercive or abusive conversion practices towards people identifying as LGBT,” ACL spokesperson Jasmine Yuen said. “ACL is unaware that they are occurring in Australia, or that any group, religious or otherwise, is advancing them.”
“In particular, an anticipated ‘gender identity conversion ban’ could hamper faith-based schools in delivering an education in accordance with the tenets of their religion.
“In practical terms, schools may not be able to teach their religious values for fear of teachers being prosecuted. If a student claimed that the religious teachings were intended to change their gender identity, a prosecution might ensue, throwing the school into chaos. It would extinguish the very religious values upon which the school was founded.
“The government’s proposed bans may also have implications for the teaching of scripture in churches and homes. Faith-based teaching that encourages a biblical view of marriage and gender may result in penalties if a person took the view that such teaching was intended to change their sexuality or gender identity.
“Consultation has been haphazard and COVID-affected, while the Department of Justice and Community Safety consultation report due in February this year remains unseen."
With just two sitting weeks until Christmas, ACL calls on the Parliament to reject any attempt to pass the as-yet-unseen bill, away from the scrutiny of Victorians who value their freedom of religion and rights as parents.