On Tuesday, France passed a new bill banning ‘conversion therapy’ practices for LGBTQ people. According to France24, the National Assembly approved the new law with a unanimous vote of 142-0.
Anyone who uses so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices to change a person’s sexual orientation or sexual or gender identity will face two-year imprisonment or be fined €30,000.
The BBC reported the French Senate had already overwhelmingly backed the law. It was there that it was passed by “305 votes to 28.” The conservative Republicans were the only MPs to oppose it.
The new law will allow campaigners, including campaigning groups, to file civil suits on behalf of victims potentially. This will benefit anyone reluctant to or unable to report the soon-to-be illegal practice to the police.
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President Emmanuel Macron commended the move, tweeting: “these unworthy practices have no place in [France] because being yourself is not a crime,” and “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
Elisabeth Moreno, Equalities and Diversity Minister, “described so-called conversion therapies as ‘barbaric’ and told lawmakers that the suffering they inflict ‘very often leaves permanent marks on bodies and minds.’”
Laurence Vanceunebrock, a lawmaker and MP from President Macron’s ruling En Marche party, guided the bill through parliament.
She told the National Assembly it will target “all those who equated an identity or a sexual orientation with sickness.”
Clement Beaune, Europe Minister and centrist in the Macron government, who is gay, tweeted that he was “proud of this agreement.”
He also tweeted: “conversion therapy is prohibited in France! A great victory for rights and equality. Thank you to the parliamentarians who voted for this bill, carried by the majority!”
— Clement Beaune (@CBeaune) January 25, 2022
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Conversion therapy practitioners may also be imprisoned for three years or receive additional fines of up to €45,000 if they use the ‘therapy’ on a minor or an adult deemed vulnerable under the legislation.
The law will become effective on Wednesday, February 9, after President Macron signs off.
It is also 40 years since France decriminalised homosexuality.
According to the British broadcaster, “United Nations experts have repeatedly condemned conversion therapy, which can use group sessions, injections, electric shocks and prayer in its attempts to alter LGBTQ peoples’ identities.”
Other countries that have banned ‘conversion therapy’ are Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Malta, Albania and Germany.
In Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT are the only states and territories that ban the practice.