National LGBTIQ advocacy organisation just.equal has called on Australia’s Catholic bishops to denounce LGBTIQ conversion practices and embrace discrimination protections for LGBTIQ people.
The call comes in the wake of Pope Francis declaring his support for same-sex civil unions and LGBTIQ inclusion.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family,” Pope Francis said, in footage included in the new documentary Francesco.
“They are children of God and have a right to a family.
“Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.
“What we have to have is a civil union law – that way they are legally covered.
“I stood up for that.”
The Pope has previously commented positively on gay people, saying in 2013: “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has a good will, then who am I to judge him?”
Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said that Catholic bishops in Australia must support LGBTIQ people and work to end harmful homophobic and transphobic practices.
“The clear message from the Vatican is that LGBTIQ people should be treated with equal respect and have legal protections,” said Croome.
“Now it’s the turn of Australia’s Catholic bishops to repudiate damaging prejudices that say LGBTIQ people are broken and our human rights pose a threat.
“We call on the bishops to speak out against LGBTIQ conversion practices and support legal protections against anti-LGBTIQ discrimination.
“A great start would be for the bishops to repudiate statements in their infamous ‘Don’t Mess with Marriage‘ booklet suggesting same-sex partners are not whole people and mess with kids.”
Anti-LGBTQA+ conversion therapy, often performed by religious groups, remains legal in most of Australia and other jurisdictions.
Queensland’s new legislation against conversion therapy has been criticised as “next to useless” over its coverage of healthcare services but religious settings.
Survivors of the practices have called for stronger laws that particularly cover informal and religious settings.