LGBT+ campaigners are “confident” that opposition from religious groups and the right will not derail legislation seeking to ban conversion practices in Scotland.

On Tuesday, the Scottish Government published proposals to criminalise attempts to change or suppress the gender identity or sexual orientation of another person.

In the wake of the consultation being launched, religious groups such as the Catholic Church were quick to suggest they would cause a “chilling effect” on religious freedom.

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Gender critical group For Women Scotland have also claimed the plans would criminalise parents for “refusing to sign up to the gender ideology cult”.

With the legislation expected to face a legal challenge from critics and religious, who say it will impact freedom of speech and privacy, LGBT+ groups have sought to defend the plans.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said “Every LGBT+ equality measure we have worked on for the past 30 years has been opposed by conservative religious groups and some others.

“We are confident that when MSPs look at this bill, they will realise that the fears are unfounded, because the proposals pay real attention to preserving freedoms of religion and expression.

“The conversion practices bill would only ban behaviour that attempts to change or suppress another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and only when that behaviour is coercive and causes the person proven harm.

“No-one should be defending coercive behaviour that harms other people.”

The new law would take a three-pronged approach to outlaw conversion practices, such as therapy or counselling to both physical and sexual abuse, through creating a new criminal offence, establishing a statutory aggravator to already existing crimes, and a civil protection order.

Prosecutors will have to prove anyone engaging in conversion practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity for any conviction to be made, and that the practices or services caused physical or psychological harm to the victim.

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The consultation leaves it up to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to decide whether to prosecute under summary procedure, which would give a prison term of 12 months, a maximum fine of £10,000 or both, or solemn procedure, imprisonment of a term of up to seven years, unlimited fine or both.

Conversion practices that include “physical and abusive acts” will carry higher sentences.

Those accused would have a defence if their actions could be proven to be “reasonable in the particular circumstances”, but consent would not be considered a defence under the new law.

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A spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “While the Church supports legislation which protects people from physical and verbal abuse, a fundamental pillar of any free society is that the state recognises and respects the right of religious bodies and organisations to be free to teach the fullness of their beliefs and to support, through prayer, counsel and other pastoral means, their members who wish to live in accordance with those beliefs.”

The spokesperson added that there was a “worrying lack of clarity” about the term “conversion practices” and suggested this could “create a chilling effect and may criminalise advice or opinion given in good faith.”

The Free Church of Scotland and the Evangelical Alliance also said they oppose the plans.