Lawmakers of the Island Country of New Zealand have passed legislation that bans conversion therapy. It is an age-old practice that seeks to suppress one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The therapy has proven ineffective as studies have progressed over the years.
New Zealand passed in a near-unanimous vote a bill banning the practice. According to the Government’s Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, it aims “to recognize and prevent harm caused by conversion practices and promote respectful and open discussions regarding sexuality and gender.” This new law now makes it an offense to perform conversion therapy on anyone younger than eighteen years of age or who lacks decision-making capacity. The practice of conversion therapy is punishable under the law and, if convicted, could hold a prison sentence up to five years.
In a press release, Minister of Justice, Honorable Kris Faafoi said, “This is a great day for New Zealand’s rainbow communities. Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand.” Prime Minister Jacinta Arden has been an advocate for the ban on conversion therapy and has now delivered. Ending conversion therapy was one of her campaign promises.
Thirteen countries have implemented some form of ban on conversion therapy, according to Stonewall. These include Brazil, Argentina, Norway, Ecuador, Malta, among others. Recently, France made the landmark move to prohibit conversion therapy after indulging in the practice for ages.
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