Victorian Labour government has introduced the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 which was passed in the lower house on Wednesday 10th  December 2020.

Board of Imams Victoria is extremely concerned with the current form of the bill. Its stands are a gross government overreach and intrusion into the rights and freedoms of all Victorian citizens who do not share the views and extreme ideological constructs around identity, gender and sexuality which the bill imposes. The bill is recognised to be poorly drafted and a product of lobbying by the far-left elements of the LGBTIQ community but will inevitably cause harm to same sex attracted individuals, their families and faith communities who do not and will not accept the imposed ideologies and definitions of sexuality and gender identity.  

BOIV especially object to the bill’s attack on religious communities and the right of Victorians to free speech, the serious intrusions on parental rights of same sex attracted and gender dysphoric children, and the rights of consenting adults to obtain psychological counselling and non-gay-affirming religious pastoral care and assistance.

Like many other faith communities, the BOIV is supportive of eliminating harmful aversion and coercive practices aimed at same sex attracted people. However, the bill does not strike a balance that assures same sex attracted people these protections but also gives faith communities (including same sex attracted individual’s) freedom of consciousness and religious practice. All Victorians should have a right to autonomy to adhere to religiously compliant constructs of sexuality, gender identity and religiously sanctioned sexual conduct. Same sex attracted Muslims are not “broken.” However, this bill criminalises a core Islamic command to provide direct advice (Nasiha) on abstaining from sex with the same gender. The bill also criminalises counselling and direct advice to abide by and affirm traditional Islamic gender norms and constructs to people experiencing gender dysphoria. 

The bill holds many alarmingly harmful criminal legal ramifications for Victorians who do not adhere to its imposed identity politics. However, the most harmful is that it turns same sex attracted Victorians into objects of legal liability within their communities and families rather than autonomous people who have complex and multidimensional identities and social and religious ties. How does potentially accelerating family breakdown and creating community tensions in this way helpful to anyone, including same sex attracted Victorians who belong to faith communities and whose religious convictions on sexuality will not change? 

Unlike moves to promote gay rights like gay marriage which have, so far, not had direct impacts on faith communities, this law poses direct and serious harm to all Victorians who do not adhere to and affirm the identity constructs the bill imposes. The Victorian Labor party is therefore willfully acting to harm faith communities including the Muslim community. 

BOIV request that any further advancement of this bill be halted immediately and that faith communities be consulted on necessary amendments. This will ensure that the bill strikes a balance between assuring safety from aversion practices and coercion for same sex attracted Victorians and ensuring freedom of religion, autonomy, and parental rights for all Victorians.

Therefore, we appeal to the Victorians to sign the e-petition requesting the Legislative Council to immediately halt the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020 and that faith communities be consulted.

You can access  E-petition here: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/305

Instructions on how you can sign. Here