New legislation could see parents prosecuted for denying hormone therapy

New legislation could see parents prosecuted for preventing their children having hormone treatment. It’s understood both criminal and civil offences will be introduced.

Although the details are not yet clear, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has signalled his desire to pass the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill before February next year. The bill responds to Labour’s election manifesto promise to ban so-called gay conversion therapy, he says.

The bill’s supporters include the Salvation Army, the Green Party and the National Party.

Gay conversion therapy involves attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation, despite that not being possible.

In expressing its support for the proposed new legislation, the Salvation Army says it “continues to oppose vilification of, or discrimination against, anyone on the grounds of sexuality or gender. This includes attempts to change another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and any actions which deny a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Speaking about his bill, Faafoi said: “This bill isn’t about criminalising people. It is about making sure we prevent harm that is happening as a result of these conversion practices.”

But asked on Newstalk ZB whether parents could be jailed if they stopped their 12-year-old children from taking hormone-blockers, Faafoi said anyone intentionally changing or suppressing someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation could be breaking the law.

At the same time, there would be a “long line” to walk before reaching a criminal offence, he added.

At present, the legal age of consent for hormone treatment is 16.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) says it understands it will be made an offence to run a conversion therapy practice. Encouraging someone to go to therapy with the intention of changing their sexual identity will also become illegal.

Advising someone to seek religious, medical or mental health support in regards to their sexual orientation, however, will remain legal.

In a statement, the Salvation Army said “Christians are called to be like God and therefore to be living examples of his love in action in the world. …

“We are told to “Accept one another… just as Christ accepted [us]” (Romans 15.7a), and to be “sympathetic, love one another, [and] be compassionate and humble” in our dealings with others (1 Peter 3.8). We are instructed to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3.12,14).

“The Salvation Army recognises the emotional, psychological, social and spiritual harms that these practices have caused and stands against their use in every circumstance.”


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