France bans barbaric conversion therapy – no ifs or buts – while UK dithers and delays
France’s law banning conversion therapy has passed its final stages, with president Emmanuel Macron declaring “being yourself… is nothing to be cured”.
The sweeping ban, which gives no exemptions for religious conversion therapy, was voted in by parties on both sides of the political spectrum in December 2021, and has now been formally approved by Macron.
The bill bans all “practices, behaviours, and repeated statements with the intent of modifying or repressing a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and having the effect of a material alteration to their mental or physical health”.
Macron tweeted after the bill was passed: “The law prohibiting conversion therapy is adopted unanimously!
“Let’s be proud, these unworthy practices have no place in the Republic. Because being yourself is not a crime, because there is nothing to be cured.”
La loi interdisant les thérapies de conversion est adoptée à l'unanimité !
Soyons-en fiers, ces pratiques indignes n'ont pas leur place en République. Parce qu’être soi n’est pas un crime, parce qu’il n’y a rien à guérir.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 25, 2022
Conversion therapy will now carry a potential penalty of two years in prison and €30,000 (around £25,000) in fines. If the victim is a minor, or otherwise considered “vulnerable”, or the person practicing conversion therapy is a parent or grandparent of the victim, the punishment increases to three years in prison and a €45,000 (around £38,000) fine.
Medical professionals found guilty of conversion therapy in France could have their medical licence stripped for ten years.
In 2016, Malta became the first European country to ban conversion therapy. Germany, Albania, Brazil and Taiwan have all passed such a ban in recent years.
A ban on conversion therapy in the UK has been on the table since 2018, when the Conservative government promised the LGBT+ community that it would ban the traumatising practice.
A UK consultation on ending the practice was intended to run for six weeks to gauge public opinion on the specifics of legislating the ban with the aim of bringing a draft to parliament by spring 2022. Since then, the ban has been hit with a series of delays, and in December 2021, the consultation was extended by a further eight weeks.
Campaigners have accused the Tories’ proposed ban of “falling short” by including a loophole for “religious counselling”.
At least two per cent of LGBT+ Britons have undergone conversion therapy, according to the UK government’s 2018 National LGBT Survey.
Of them, 51 per cent had it conducted by faith groups.
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