Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy today distanced himself from Liberal Senate candidate, Renee Heath. Heath is a lifelong member of City Builders, a conservative church allegedly linked to extreme gay conversion practices.
Guy made the comments following an article in The Age previewing a segment on Sunday’s 60 Minutes. The story follows a joint investigation into City Builders Church by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes.
Former church members Patrick and Clare McIvor said the church encouraged their marriage despite an awareness of Patrick’s sexuality. Patrick is now openly gay.
He says that before his marriage Brian Heath, City Builders’ senior Australian pastor (and Renee Heath’s father), suggested therapy to fix his ‘sexual brokenness. Heath also allegedly told him to stop associating with ‘f*ggots’.
Another former member claimed that after being sexually assaulted, something a church elder blamed him for, he was subjected to gay conversion therapy. Church members stood in a circle around him, praying in tongues, attempting to ‘cast out demons’.
City Builders belongs to the global ISAAC network of ultra-conservative Apostolic Pentacostal churches. Members believes pastors possess special powers and can connect their congregation to God by speaking in tongues and laying on hands.
Leaked messages obtained by the Age/SMH/60 Minutes investigation reveal the church’s long-term political strategy to have church members become ‘agents of change’ within the Lib/Nat Coalition.
Preselected to a safe spot on the Liberal senate ticket, Renee Heath is probably assured a spot in the Victorian upper house after next Saturday’s state election.
Matthew Guys said today is is too late to disendorse Renee Heath. However, he undertook to refuse her permission for to sit in the Liberal Party Room.
“Today, I have spoken with Liberal Candidate Ms Renee Heath to advise that she will not be sitting in the Liberal Party Room following the election.
“Neither I, nor the Liberal Party, were aware of information prior to today’s report in The Age.”
The Victorian Liberals previously faced controversy over the preselection of anti-trans candidate Moira Deeming.
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