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Letter regarding Victorian Anti-Conversion Bill

Friday, 29 January 2021  | Churches of Victoria

Gordon Preece, Director of Ethos, has signed onto a letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews from various church leaders, protesting the proposed Change or Suppression Practices (Conversion) Prohibition Bill 2020 to be debated in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday 2nd February 2021.

For a open letter by the Catholic bishops of Victoria and the Islamic Council of Victoria to the Premier seeking an urgent ‘pause’ on the Bill, see here.

For more information about the Bill, see here.

For a statement of clarification by the Ethos Board, see below.

Statement by Ethos Board

The 29 January post mistakenly uploaded on the Facebook page of our Director, Gordon Preece, has elicited strong expressions of disappointment that Ethos would sign a joint letter to the Premier from a range of religious leaders calling for the ‘Conversion Bill’ to be rethought and amended. Given that the responses have included speculation as to where the Ethos Board stood in the decision to sign, I am seeking now to offer some clarification.

Gordon signed the letter on behalf of Ethos because he believed that, on balance, it was appropriate to do so. His written advice to the Board prior to his signing, which I saw in draft form, invited Board member comment as to whether his intention to sign was supported, and included the following statement:

I believe it needs postponement and a chance for further discussion and amendments to be made in the light of the broader psychological, maturational, scientific, parental and religious liberty issues involved.

In signing the letter to the Premier, Gordon believed that every member of the Ethos Board had had opportunity to comment, when the reality was that an error of process had meant that Gordon’s advice and the draft letter had not in fact been sent to the Board at all. He proceeded in good faith on the basis of verbal support from myself and a couple of other Board members, when both Gordon and I believed that the silence of the rest of the Board could be taken as consent.

This has not been a proud moment for Ethos. Had Gordon known the views of every member of the Board he may very well have refrained from signing the letter in question. There is a diversity of opinion on the Board in relation to most of the big issues, but we are united in our determination to speak into the public square in a way that enriches and encourages God’s scattered people across the spectrum. We are evangelical and centre/left, if we must badge ourselves – but the thing we as a Board would want to say at this time is that we fully appreciate the diversity of Christian opinion on this hugely contentious Bill and regret that we may have conducted our messaging in a manner that has created confusion, discontent and hurt.

Chris Marshall

Chair, Ethos Board



January 29, 2021, 10:34PM
There is no God who would want his children to suicide!

Conversion therapy and its practices kills the very essence that makes us human. I'm speaking up for my damaged and dead friends by saying no to conversion practices.
Gabriel Waldron
January 30, 2021, 11:21AM
As someone who experienced Conversion Therapy, I find any support for a FEAR-based unscientific process, that wrecks lives and families, to be ridiculous... Because Christians have lost the art of reading God's Mystical Book, and Literalists have interpreted pain and suffering for LGBT people, Women and Jewish People, where at worst it's unclear why God should not love all Creation... So the Thought that Conversion should even get Oxygen is distressing to me, to think that other children and young adults will have to repeat history, because of hatred....
James Barron
January 31, 2021, 1:21PM
Very disappointing to see you supporting conversion therapy. It is objectively proven not to work and rightly considered abuse, its only purpose is as a fig leaf to justify evangelicals who need to believe that sexual orientation can be chosen at will in order to justify animus towards LGBT Communities.

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