Christian Leaders Condemn Lyle Shelton Remarks

Forcing children into ex-gay therapy is child abuse.

Friday 15 September 2017

Australian Christians for Marriage Equality condemns the remarks by ACL’s Lyle Shelton yesterday that parents should be allowed to force their children into ex-gay therapy.

“Forcing children into ex-gay therapy is tantamount to child abuse. These programs are based on a fundamental lie, and are intrinsically homophobic,” said Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, Chair of Australian Christians for Marriage Equality.

“Sadly, Mr Shelton’s comments show that deep aversion to, and a refusal to accept the existence of, LGBTI orientation and identity is at the heart of the opposition to marriage equality for many,” Dr Mayman said.

“We call on all leaders of the Church who are encouraging a ‘no’ vote to publicly reject Mr Shelton’s  dangerous and damaging words. Mr Shelton is the identified public leader of the ‘no’ campaign. When he speaks, he speaks for the whole campaign,” Dr Mayman said.

Pastor Brad Chilcott from the Pentecostal Activate Church in Adelaide said: “The church’s involvement in ex-gay conversion therapy should be cause for shame and repentance. The Church must be a place of welcome and hospitality to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender diversity, or else it is not a church of Jesus Christ. It is time Christians afforded same-sex attracted people the dignity of full humanity and the protection from abuse that comes with it.”

“Once again, Mr Shelton has misrepresented Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. The majority of Australian Christians do not feel represented by the ACL and its exclusionary opinions”, Pastor Chilcott said.

Nathan Despott, co-founder of the Brave Network for survivors of ex-gay therapy, said: “We are living proof that the ex-gay movement is fraudulent, harmful and ineffective. It has been directly linked to the suicides of many LGBTIQ Australians.”

“The members of Brave have been through every process imaginable to try to change their sexuality and have found that that is a dead-end that only leads to harm and devastation. They have found tremendous healing and solace in accepting and celebrating their sexuality and gender”, Mr Despott said.

Speaking to the LGBTI community, Dr Mayman said “Our message to the LGBTI community is that we see you, we acknowledge your pain. You are precious in God’s sight.”

“The majority of Christians are voting Yes in this postal survey, because of our faith. We believe in equal dignity and rights for all people.” Dr Mayman said.

Conversion therapy is opposed by the Australian Psychological Society, the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and the Australian Medical Association, among numerous other professional health and human rights bodies.

A Columbia Law School project collating conversion therapy research found there was "no credible evidence that sexual orientation can be changed through therapeutic intervention" and that there is "powerful evidence that trying to change a person’s sexual orientation can be extremely harmful".

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