The Canadian Government is under fire again for proposing controversial legislation banning so-called conversion therapy.
Under Bill C-6, a person could be imprisoned for up to five years for “knowingly” causing a child to undergo ‘conversion therapy’. The legislation seeks to ban a range of practices deemed non-affirming towards those experiencing same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops called Bill C-6’s language “ambiguous”.
In the bishops’ letter to the Canadian Government, they said: “There is a real danger that Christian and other religious and ethical teaching with respect to human sexuality would be interpreted as criminal acts.”
They warned that the Bill could criminalise “private conversations between parents and their children on matters of human sexuality”, interfering with parents’ rights to raise children in accordance with their religious and ethical beliefs.
The bishops added that the legislation could also prevent medical professionals from assisting people wishing to de-transition, and stop clinicians from “advocating a prudent and professionally supported approach towards young children with gender dysphoria”.
Julia Beazley, Director of Public Policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, asked the authorities to clarify that parental guidance, religious teaching, and the expression of views would not be criminalised under the Bill.
She said: “We are concerned that this legislation could, by imposing criminal sanctions, penalize and silence public speech and religious instruction on matters of sexuality and gender.”
Last month, a former homosexual joined calls urging the Canadian government to scrap the proposed law.
Wilna Van Beek, who eventually left her homosexual lifestyle after growing in her Christian faith, pleaded with the authorities not to make it illegal to help those experiencing same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
If conversion therapy were banned at the time, Van Beek said her pastor and his wife would have been “too afraid to go against the law”, adding that “a lot of help I received” would have been obstructed.
In the UK, LGBT campaigners Steve Chalke and Jayne Ozanne want the Government to take action against any prayer, private conversation and preaching which does not affirm homosexual or transgender lifestyles.
They have claimed that, in the future, churches could be prosecuted.