(OPINION) A free speech watchdog is warning about a new proposal in Scotland that could reportedly lead parents to be imprisoned for refusing to comply with gender transitions for their children.

“You’d think that it was a joke or a piece of satire, but, unfortunately, it is the reality in my country of Scotland,” Lois McLatchie, communications officer at ADF International, told CBN News of the suggested provision. “There are proposals that would ban so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

McLatchie said many people think of “terrible treatment” and worst-case scenarios when it comes to these methods of attempting to change people’s sexual proclivities.


But, while some claim the Scotland proposal deals exclusively with troubling abuses and methods, McLatchie said it runs much deeper:

“Although it says that it’s about conversion therapy, [this bill] actually goes much, much further and intervenes in what a parent can advise a child — a pastor can advise a congregant — or anything like that,” she said.

McLatchie continued, “If a parent were to … more than once tell their child, say their 11-year-old son, that he was not allowed to wear a dress to school, and lipstick, and high heels, and to dress as a girl when he’s a boy …

you could potentially be guilty of committing conversion therapy, of being coercive, and therefore face a criminal trial and potential prison sentence of up to seven years.”

She said the proposal is being discussed right now during a consultation period lasting until April 2 and that ADF International and other activists hope the Scottish people “raise their voices,” weigh in, and help stop the passage and enactment of such measures.

With the Scottish National Party — the nation’s ruling party — and the Green Party behind the bill, she said the two political bodies have a majority of seats in parliament combined and have, thus, essentially formed a potentially powerful coalition.