Simon Bridges says banning gay conversion therapy is an attack on free speech

NewsHub 5 February 2021
Simon Bridges says he is concerned banning gay conversion therapy would pander to what he says is a growing cancel culture and would be an attack on free speech.

Bridges, the ex-National Party leader and current spokesperson for Justice, said on The AM Show he wanted to see the details on a proposed Labour bill to ban the controversial practice of gay conversion therapy.

He said forcing anyone to do something against their will is wrong – including gay conversion therapy – but he had concerns around making it illegal.

“I personally do have a wider concern. That is freedom of speech. That is in a liberal society, in a tolerant society, we have been very tolerant of different views.

“We are, with this, moving down a track to a situation where it is actually cancel culture.

“If we don’t like it we are going to criminalise it and I do worry about that.”

Bridges was responding to questions about the National Party’s stance on banning the often harmful practice of trying to convert LBGTQ people to heterosexuality.

Bridges refused to be pushed on whether National wanted the practice banned, saying he wanted to see more detail, but said he had no problem with people having the right to preach about something that was controversial.

“On the notion of a Christian or Muslim councillor preaching a certain thing in a voluntary way, I personally have no problem with that.

Labour minister David Parker, who was on The AM Show’s political panel with Bridges, said they were still doing the policy work. But he disagreed with the National MP’s view.

“There is no medical science behind the idea that you can change someone from either gay to heterosexual or heterosexual to gay. It is crazy voodoo nonsense.

“It causes damage and traumatises people, Parker said.”


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