Archbishop Prowse raises deep concerns about Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill
GPO Box 89
Canberra ACT 2601
Dear Mr Barr,
I was grateful with the meeting today with your key staff and some Christian Church leaders here in the ACT.
In the meeting we expressed our deep concerns regarding the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bi/12020 currently before the Legislative Assembly.
Clearly, it goes without saying, we are agreed that young people who find themselves personally considering gender transitioning deserve our full care and loving attention. Their dignity is to be respected at all times. We know them to be enduring periods of intense suffering, distress and sexual identity fluidity.
Having said this, the Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn stands alongside the growing numbers of professionals from the medical and psychological sciences who are voicing grave concerns about the proposed legislation.
This Archdiocese calls for a more considered response to the legislation. What is proposed at present is a rushed and defective legislative response. It is in isolation from the genuine concerns of so many in the ACT community. There is a great cause to pause before proceeding further.
At our gathering with your key staff today we articulated precise areas of the legislation that causes our concerns. We know that they will pass these concerns onto you. We look forward to considering the amendments you propose to the Bill.
Chief among these concerns, the Catholic Church would want to emphasise the importance of the family and fundamental parental human rights. This is an area of great vagueness in the proposed legislation.
The irony is that children are legally not permitted to be tattooed, buy cigarettes or alcohol, drive a car, gamble, have elective surgery without adult consent and so on, yet this proposed legislation would legally permit under 18 year olds to pursue radical means of gender transitioning freed from parental control.
Given that the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn consists of 163,000 Catholics, 56 schools, 4 hospitals, 10 Aged Care Homes, CatholicCare, Marymead, and the St Vincent de Paul Society, and other services, our contribution to the care and health of the community is not insignificant. We will continue to provide the best possible care for families in the ACT. Our hope is that political legislation in this fragile area helps and not hinders our mission to accompany all those in need.
Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Catholic Archdiocese of the Canberra and Goulburn