Bill C-6 is a proposed amendment to the Criminal Code that is commonly referred to as a conversion therapy ban. The term “conversion therapy” refers to any attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This can include abusive and harmful practices, but could also refer to voluntary religious counselling or support services that someone struggling with their sexual orientation may seek out for themselves.
Critics of the bill suggest that its language could effectively render something as simple as a private conversation between individuals or family members about sexuality or gender into a criminal matter. The bill virtually equates a pastor praying for someone’s capacity to resist sexual urges with coercive gay conversion programs.
I was joined by Jojo Ruba of FreetoCare.ca, who gave us an update on the bill and highlighted some of the major concerns surrounding it.
Jojo shared that numerous provinces already have various versions of conversion bans in effect, but the language proposed in Bill C-6 is far more problematic. Beyond the too broad definition of conversion therapy, there are serious concerns that the modified laws could be used to violate the fundamental rights of faith groups who adhere to traditional sexual and gender norms.
The responses to the criticisms have largely consisted of ambiguous assurances of honest intentions and good will, but these things mean very little when the law itself is full of problematic language and void of safeguards.
The Liberals have not allowed for much open discussion of this bill. According to Jojo, there is a significant likelihood that the all-too-common progressive strategy of decrying anyone who dares question Bill C-6 as a bigot will rear its ugly head. Bill C-6 parades as an initiative that supports LGBT individuals, when in reality, all it does is revoke the freedom of LGBT people to choose counselling as they see fit.
According to Jojo, the bill in its current form does not serve anyone aside from ideologues and activists. The bill could be brought up for debate in Parliament within the week, so Jojo encourages concerned citizens to reach out to their local Members of Parliament before Bill C-6 becomes law.