A new Canadian bill backed by the prime minister would jail parents who attempt to discourage and change their child’s unwanted same-sex attractions or gender identity.
Bill C-8, supported by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, would make it a crime punishable up to five years in prison to “knowingly” cause “a person who is under the age of 18 years to undergo conversion therapy.” The bill applies not just to therapists but “everyone.”
The bill defines conversion therapy as a “practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.”
The Campaign Life Coalition, a Toronto-based organization, says the bill is an affront to parental rights and religious freedom.
“If you’re a parent with a gender-confused child, you will not be permitted to help that child conform to his/her biological gender,” David Cooke of the Campaign Life Coalition wrote in an analysis of the bill. “... If you’re a pastor or church leader who publicly proclaims the power of Christ to transform homosexuals and transgenders, you may be arrested for ‘advertising conversion therapy.’”
The Trudeau government, he asserted, is “pushing to eradicate the Christian view of sexuality and gender from the public square.”
“They are working to suppress and deny the testimony of countless ex-gays and ex-trans who expose the lies of the LGBT narrative,” Cooke wrote.
The bill says conversion therapy “causes harm to the persons, and in particular the children” who undergo it. Further, the bill says conversion therapy “propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation and gender identity,” including “the myth that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity can and ought to be changed.”
“It is important to discourage and denounce the provision of conversion therapy in order to protect the human dignity and equality of all Canadians,” the bill says.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, based in Calgary, is also warning about the bill’s impact on liberty.
“Under the guise of prohibiting ‘conversion therapy,’ Bill C-8 would make it a criminal offense for parents to help their own gender-confused children find peace in accepting their biological gender,” the Centre’s John Carpay wrote in an analysis.
Most children struggling with their gender identity, he wrote, “will accept and regain comfort with their biology by the age of 18” if supported to do so.
“Once opposite-sex hormones have wreaked havoc on a young developing body, including causing lifelong sterility, there is no going back,” Carpay wrote.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Christian Ouellet
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.