40 Religious Leaders Push for Conversion Therapy Ban in Regina, Saskatchewan

Written on 07/23/2021
Staff Columnist

In Saskatchewan, leaders of multiple different faiths signed a letter asking the City of Regina to ban conversion therapy — CBC News reported.

More than 40 Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Sikh churches joined forces to urge the city at a council meeting on Wednesday, July 14.

"Simply put, we believe that 2S-LGBTQIA+ conversion efforts or practices are a form of abuse," the letter states. "We believe that any attempt to discourage, repress or even try to change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is harmful, especially for our vulnerable 2S-LGBTQIA+ children and youth."

The City met in the afternoon to discuss the proposed bylaw banning conversion therapy, a process that aims to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexuality and gender orientation to cisgender.

After Saskatoon banned conversion therapy in February, Regina city council voted in the bylaw in April.

At the meetings in April, people from all over Canada spoke to Regina city council through virtual calls to oppose the ban. Some claimed it would infringe upon a person's right to seek the therapy they choose, while others claimed it went against their religious freedom.

However, the letter submitted by 40 faith leaders contradicts that claim.

"Religion is often used as justification for discrimination, and as Faith Leaders, we are here to unequivocally denounce the use of any faith perspective or religious power to suppress and oppress 2S-LGBTQIA+ people from living in the fullness of who they are," it says.

The leaders added that people of faith support the dignity of the LGBTQ community.

"Especially the 'Q': those who are questioning and exploring their sexual and gender identities," the letter says. "As people explore and develop who they are, they deserve our support and encouragement, not judgment, shame, or rejection."

Leaders of different religions also said that people are misinterpreting scripture when they use it to claim religious freedom.

"We believe that any assertion that the bylaw created will be an attack on religious freedom to be hyperbolic and false. Religious Freedoms will always, and rightfully, continue to be protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were reasonable and appropriate," the letter says.

"We celebrate God's gift of diversity, which includes the spectrums of sexual orientation and gender identity."

(Image Credit: Regina Leader Post)