Saturday, February 20, 2016, 10:52
The Conversion Therapy Bill being presented to Parliament violates the constitutional provisions on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a Church position paper has concluded.
The legislation being proposed on the affirmation of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression raises a number of "serious ethical and legal issues", according to a position paper published by the Curia on the advice of seven experts in the field.
"Rather than fostering a ‘culture of dignity’ in which every citizen, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, lives in an inclusive culture of recognition between human beings, the proposed Bill promotes discrimination, disrespect for personal autonomy and distrust in the accountability of professional bodies."
The proposed Bill promotes discrimination, disrespect for personal autonomy and distrust
In a statement this morning, the Curia said the legislation, which is being proposed on the affirmation of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, is apparently seeking to protect a category of people who may find it hard and painful to come to terms with their condition as being different from that of their peers or the rest of the population.
An analysis of the provisions of the Bill, however, shows that everyone in practice will be hindered from having free access to professional guidance, advice and any other therapeutic help that may be appropriate and needed with respect to one’s sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, the Church said.
The proposed legislation will affect persons who are not vulnerable and who out of their own free will seek appropriate forms of therapy to change their own sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.
The Bill is inconsistent with the premises behind the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act, 2015, and with the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. It also violates the Constitutional provisions on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the Curia.
"Specifically seeking to change, repress or eliminate the orientation of a person from homosexual to heterosexual would be made a criminal offence by the Bill. But, it would be perfectly legitimate to assist a heterosexual to become homosexual. That homosexuals and heterosexuals are afforded the same legal standing and protection is perfectly legitimate. This Bill does not do that."
The Bill also fails to take into consideration complex realities encountered in clinical practice and overrides the professional ethics of experts who regulate their conduct in the best interests of their clients. The Bill takes away the power from the client to set their goals with the therapist and criminalises any deviation from what it decrees.