France and New Zealand criminalize “conversion therapy” | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 12, 2024

Conversion therapy is the damaging and degrading practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual identity or gender identity, based on the idea that an individual’s sexual orientation is something that needs to be “cured.” 

Late last year, we shared an article celebrating Canada’s decision to fast-track the bill that bans this practice. Now, we are happy to report that the National Assembly of France unanimously approved a similar law on January 25th, and that on Tuesday this week, February 15th, New Zealand’s parliament near-unanimously passed legislation that bans conversion therapy as well.

In France’s case, the legislation includes criminal penalties including up to 30,000-euro fines ($34,000) and up to two years of jail time for those caught trying to “convert” members of the LGBTQ community.

These punishments can increase to three years of imprisonment and fines of 45,000 euros ($50,000) if the conversion attempts involve minors or other vulnerable individuals.

President Emmanuel Macron wholeheartedly supported the law, which will take effect within 14 days, and tweeted: “Let’s be proud of it because being oneself is not a crime.”

New Zealand’s legislation makes it clear that their people’s rights to express an opinion, belief, religious belief, or principle will not be infringed, as long as there is no intent to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. 

The country’s government reported that it had received almost 107,000 public submissions on this particular bill—the most public summons ever received on any legislation. 

Under the new law, performing conversion practices on individuals under the age of 18, or on someone with impaired decision-making capacities will be punishable by up to three years imprisonment.

Where attempted conversion caused serious harm, offenders performing conversion practices on anyone (regardless of age) could face up to five years in prison. 

Soon, the Netherlands could be joining their ranks as MPs have recently proposed a bill calling for the punishment of those administering conversion therapy.

Additional sources: France24 – France passes law banning ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ people

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