Self-appointed bishop Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church have launched a campaign to stop the New Zealand government from passing laws that would provide further protections for LGBTQIA+ people.
An article that Tamaki wrote on August 12 this year titled ‘Are We Being Bullied & Overpowered By A Gay Agenda?’ has recently been circulating around on social media.
In the piece, Tamaki speaks out against the Self Identification Bill, which would allow trans and gender diverse people to change their pronouns on their birth certificates and the Conversion ‘therapy’ ban bill.
Churches Urge NZ Government Not To Pass Conversion Practices Bill
Founder of the Conversion Therapy Action Group New Zealand , Shaneel Lal said they had noticed that followers of Tamaki’s church have been promoting this article in the comments section of End Conversion Therapy NZ social media pages.
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“When the Conversion therapy bill went to the Select Committee, they (followers of Destiny Church) started putting this article out,” Lal said.
Lal also said that Arise Church have submitted a letter, which has been signed by 18 other churches requesting the Government not pass the conversion therapy bill.
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“When you have one church with a membership of 2000 people sending out an email asking others to make a submission, just imagine the impact 18 churches could have,” Lal said.
Fears The Proposed Bill May Be Watered Down
Last month the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill passed the first reading with 87 votes in favour and 33 votes against. The only party that was opposed to sending the Bill to the next stage was the National Party.
During the proceedings, National Party leader Judith Collins raised similar concerns that Tamaki addressed in his article about how the bill may criminalise parents.
However, under section 5 of the current bill, advising your children or having a conversation does not meet the definition of a practice and certainly does not meet the threshold for criminalisation. It is only when the church or a parent are actively suppressing or forcing someone to change their gender or sexual identity is when they will be considered criminal.
With less then a week for people to make submissions to the Select Committee, Lal said they are worried the current bill may be changed to appease religious groups and individuals in New Zealand.
“We can’t afford a watered down law to pass because we need to ensure that everyone in the LBTQIA+ community is protected from conversion therapy.”
“The queer community is small in New Zealand and we might be outnumbered so that is why we have made a massive call out to our international community to submit in favour of banning conversion therapy.”
Submissions can still be made by anyone either living in New Zealand or elsewhere on the New Zealand Parliament website.
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