Canadian lawmakers have passed a bill to outlaw harmful LGBT conversion practices.
“Conversion therapy” refers to discredited practices of changing or suppressing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, using psychological or spiritual means.
The Canadian government’s bill passed its first vote 263 to 63 this week. The legislation will now go to the Senate for another vote.
Minister of Justice David Lametti tweeted the bill is “about protecting the dignity and equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit individuals.”
It criminalises “conversion therapy”-related conduct. If passed, he said, “will make Canada’s criminal laws on conversion therapy the most progressive and comprehensive in the world.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party committed to the ban before the 2019 election.
Trudeau tweeted that conversion practices as “harmful and degrading”.
“Conversion therapy has no place in Canada,” he said.
“And even though more than half of the Conservative caucus voted against it, the House of Commons has passed our legislation to criminalize this harmful and degrading practice.
“We’ll always stand up for LGBTQ2 Canadians and their rights.”
Canada bill bans coercives practices on children and adults
The Canadian legislation defines conversion therapy as practices “designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender or to reduce non-heterosexual sexual attraction or sexual behavior.”
The bill would prohibit Canadians from subjecting children to the practice, either in Canada or overseas.
It would also prevent forcing adults from undergoing the practice against their will.
Under the proposed law, no one could profit from nor advertise the practices.
The vote in the Canadian parliament this week split the opposition Conservative party, with 62 out of 119 of their members voting against it.
The party said they opposed coercive conversion practices. However some voted against the bill because they believed the definition was too broad.
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