Calgary city council passed their “conversion therapy” bill yesterday in a vote of 14 to 1, with Councillor Joe Magliocca voting no.
What does this mean?
- A counselor who offers help to reduce a person’s same-sex attraction or reaffirms the person’s birth sex can be fined $10,000.
- The bylaw would apply to a recommendation made either in a private conversation or during a public sermon, because this would be considered word-of-mouth advertising.
The bylaw will make it illegal for businesses to offer or advertise conversion therapy. Conversion therapy as defined by the bylaw is: “a practice, treatment, or service designed to change, repress, or discourage a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.”
Businesses that violate the bylaw will be subject to a $10,000 fine. Churches are considered businesses if they advertise conversion therapy or make a transaction to offer it.
As Calgary’s legal counsel stated: “Advertising can include word of mouth, so if a pastor for instance was saying, ‘I have a business that I know of, and if you go to this location, they can provide you with the services that are included within that definition’, that can be deemed advertising.” To watch that excerpt from the council meeting, click here.
Two amendments were proposed during the debate to narrow the definition of conversion therapy and to allow conversion therapy to a person who gave their free consent. Councillors Sean Chu and Joe Magliocca voted in favor, but the amendments failed.
Councillor Chu then proposed a third amendment, but retracted it saying his intention wasn't to create a loophole in the bylaw.
"I have always supported the LGBTQ+ community and one of my best friends is also from that community," Chu said.
The Calgary bylaw is draconian in prohibiting even adults from seeking therapy to live sexuality and gender the way they want. One hopes that it will be challenged on its constitutionality.
Meanwhile, PAFE supporters must direct their energies to preventing a similarly tragic outcome with the federal bill C-8.
- Contact your Member of Parliament (MP) and tell him/her NOT to support Bill C-8. If you don’t know who your MP is, click here and type in your postal code, click on the name of your MP when it shows up, then click on the "Contact" tab to get his/her contact information.
- Let PAFE know that you have contacted your MP, and let us know what they say by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message at 416-763-7233.
- Forward this email to at least 5 of your family members and friends.
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