The Church in Scotland has said that a proposed ban on 'conversion practices' could criminalise giving advice to individuals struggling with their identity.
The Scottish Government has today (Tuesday 9 January) launched a consultation on the issue.
A spokesperson for the Catholic church said: “The worrying lack of clarity about what is meant by the term ‘conversion practices’ could create a chilling effect and may criminalise advice or opinion given in good faith.
"We urge the Scottish Government not to criminalise mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical intervention relating to sexual orientation.
"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 fulness of their beliefs and to support, through prayer, counsel and other pastoral means, their members who wish to live in accordance with those beliefs.
“We would urge the Scottish Government not to criminalise mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical or other professional intervention relating to sexual orientation, which is not approved by the State as acceptable."
He added: “The church will now take time to consider the consultation document with a view to submitting a response in due course.”