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‘World-Leading’ Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy Passes In Australia

by : Hannah Smith on : 05 Feb 2021 10:15
'World-Leading' Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy Passes In AustraliaAndyMeddickMP/Facebook/PA Images

An Australian state has been heralded for passing the toughest conversion therapy law in the world, banning the practice in all settings.

Victoria, a southern state in Australia containing the country’s second largest city, Melbourne, passed the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill in a vote following a 12-hour debate on Friday, February 5.

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Advocates have described the bill, which bans the use of gay conversion therapy in all settings including by healthcare and religious organisations, as the ‘gold standard’ response to the harmful practice.

victoriaPA Images

Speaking to The Canberra Times, LGBTQ+ charity Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome urged other states and territories to follow Victoria’s lead. While Victoria is not the first Australian state to pass legislation banning conversion therapy, it is the first to explicitly ban it in religious settings, where activists say it is most commonly used.

The law officially outlaws ‘carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism’ in an attempt to ‘change’ a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and also officially designates conversion therapy as a form of domestic violence.

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Following the passage of the law, which will come into force in 12 months time, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will be tasked with investigated conversion therapy practices, with anyone found trying to change a person’s identity set to face up to 10 years’ jail or fines of up to AUD$10,000.

Speaking following the vote, Victorian MP Andy Meddick – who in a tweet described himself as the father of two ‘perfect’ transgender children – said ‘they do not need fixing. Nor do any other children or adults who do not fit an often religiously held belief that sexuality and gender are binary only’.

The law had faced vocal protests from religious groups as well as some MPs from the ruling Liberal party, who described the new measures – designed to allow all people to express their sexual orientation and gender identity without fear – as an ‘attack on basic freedoms…freedom of choice…[and] free speech’ of religious groups. The Australian Federal Islamic Council announced that it would be mounting a legal challenge to overturn the new legislation.

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Pro-equality religious groups, including the Brave Network, the LGBTQIA+ committee of the Uniting Church in Australia, and Rainbow Catholics, praised the bill, describing it as the ‘world’s most significant achievement in legislation curtailing the diabolical influence of the conversion movement.’

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Topics: News, Australia, Conversion Therapy, LGBTQ+, Now

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Daily Mail
  1. Daily Mail

    World-leading bill banning conversion therapy passes Victorian parliament