The New Zealand Parliament’s Justice Select Committee has released a report urging the government to delay moving forward with a ban on so-called gay conversion therapies, as it says some New Zealanders will view this as a restriction on their legitimate religious practices.
The committee made its report in response to two petitions in August that had called for the banning of the practice in New Zealand.
On Monday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged that there will be “those who perceive that it’s a part of their freedom of expression within their religion.”
However Arden told the press conference that it was also “something that I know our LGBTI community rightly … feels very strongly about, and it’s an issue that I do have concerns about.”
In its report the committee acknowledged that gay conversion therapy is harmful, but urged caution as “more work needs to be done” before tackling the issue.
“The desire to reduce harm by banning conversion therapy must be balanced against the desire to protect freedom of beliefs and religion for those offering the therapy,” the report reads.
“In particular, thought must be given to how to define conversion therapy, who the ban would apply to, and how to ensure that rights relating to freedom of expression and religion were maintained.”
Newshub revealed last year that some New Zealanders were paying $200 an hour to undergo attempts to alter or correct their sexual orientation.