Australian Christian Lobby Petitions Against ‘Gay Conversion’ Therapy Ban


Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby Martyn Iles

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has launched a petition calling on federal Labor not to ban the harmful practice of “gay conversion” therapy.

The anti-transgender petition, which now has 19,000 signatures, hits out at Labor over the consultation draft of the party’s platform, set to be debated at their national conference in December.

The draft of the policy platform reads, “Labor opposes the practice of so-called conversion and reparative therapies on LGBTIQ+ people and seeks to criminalise these practices.”

But the ACL has claimed such a move would be an “attack on people of faith and parents’ rights.”

“We can see the party is seeking to launch an extraordinary attack on people of faith and parents’ rights,” ACL director Martyn Iles (pictured) wrote in the petition.

“It means that if your son comes home one day from his Labor-sponsored ‘Safe School’ and tells you he wants to become a girl, you must support that decision and attempt to facilitate it.

“‘Safe Schools’ and Labor’s proposed criminalisation of counselling that affirms biology are just another attack on the rights of parents who don’t want to see their kids brainwashed by Labor’s rainbow brigade.

“Discouraging your son from transitioning to a girl, arranging for prayer or counselling to affirm his biological gender would be a criminal offence and domestic abuse under a Labor government.”

“Gay conversion” or “reparative” therapy is the dangerous and discredited practice of attempting to “change” sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual means.

“Gay conversion” or “ex-gay” therapies have been widely condemned as unethical and dangerous by numerous bodies around the world including the United Nations, the Australian Psychological Society, and peak psychology bodies in the US and the UK.

Labor Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King first indicated earlier this year that the party would move to ban gay “conversion” or “reparative” therapies.

“Gay conversion therapy is discredited and dangerous,” she told Fairfax Media in April.

“As the federal shadow health minister, I urge all jurisdictions to follow Victoria’s lead and ban gay conversion therapy.

“If this issue isn’t resolved before the next election, and I’m lucky enough to serve as health minister afterwards, it’ll be a personal priority for me.”

She cited the Australian Medical Association’s official position that such practices have “no medical indication and represent[s] a serious threat to the health and human rights of those so treated.”

This week, LGBTIQ advocacy groups just.equal and PFLAG released survey results indicating a ban on the harmful “conversion” therapy is a top priority for the LGBTIQ community ahead of the next federal election.

Conversion therapy survivor Chris Csabs, whose Change.org petition to ban the practice has received 42,000 signatures, spoke out earlier this year about how the practice left him depressed and suicidal. He said this week he was pleased to see the support for a national crackdown.

“But the problem is broader than just therapies in a medical context and we want to see a public health campaign against the whole idea that LGBTIQ+ people are ‘broken,’” he said.

If this story has brought up issues for you, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.