Parents should be alarmed at any attempt to counsel/or pray with own children about their sexuality or gender

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Last night, something happened in the Victorian Parliament which affects all Australians.

The Andrews’ Labor Government successfully passed its so-called Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill.

The bill purports to ban so-called “gay conversion therapy”, both in secular and faith-based settings.

“Conversion therapy” conjures up images of violence and harm – something no one supports – but is really a smokescreen by which to attack freedom of religion and belief.

This shocking legislation will ban any “practice or conduct” towards a person, even if undertaken with the person’s consent, aimed at “changing or suppressing the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person”.

BUT, people would still be permitted to participate in any practice that “supportive of or affirms a person's gender identity or sexual orientation”. This includes conduct aimed at supporting gender transitions and expression of “gender identity”.

Parents should be alarmed. Any attempt to even counsel or pray with their own children over matters of their sexuality or gender could see them charged with an offence.

And churches and faith organisations are specifically targeted. Aside from secular services such as psychiatric therapy, the bill prohibits “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism.”

The penalties for breaching the legislation are serious.

For more serious offences, individuals face up to 10 years’ jail, a fine of up to $198,264, or both. For organisations, the fine rises to a maximum of $991,320.

Every single amendment moved last night – including one to exempt family discussions – was defeated.

The bill was ultimately passed 27 votes to 9.

This is shocking enough for Victorians – especially Victorian parents – but how is it relevant for those in other states and territories?

..

Firstly, the Victorian bill recognises no borders. Anyone who engages with a Victorian (either within or outside of Victorian borders) for the purpose of “changing or suppressing” will potentially be engaging in a criminal act.

Secondly, Victoria has in recent times been a “first mover” in terms of extreme social legislation. Consider its euthanasia and assisted suicide laws. Or its radical abortion-to-birth laws, carried way back in 2008.

If the Victorian Government feels confident enough to so drastically intrude into the private sexual lives of individuals, the prayer and counselling of churches and medical professionals, and even into the very family home, all Australians should be alarmed at the precedent this poses.

On a practical note, then: what is to be done?

For a start, those in other states and territories must be alert to any attempt to imitate this draconian and intrusive legislation.

And, as we’ve seen on a range of issues, having the best argument or even making the most noise is irrelevant if its fall on deaf ears. In that sense, we need better people in our parliaments.

Nothing much has changed since the 4th century BC, when Plato rightly said:

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

Definitely worth thinking about.

Finally, thank you to our many brave Victorian supporters who took action on this issue. Your efforts do matter and we stand with you.

Kind regards,

The Australian Family Coalition


P.S.
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