Germany approves ban on 'conversion therapy'

On Wednesday, the Cabinet of Germany approved a draft bill which will ban the advertisement and practice of 'conversion therapy' on minors and adults.

Chancellor Angela Merkel smiling and wearing a red suit, Germany has just passed a draft bill banning

The Cabinet of Germany has signed off on a draft bill banning both the advertisement and practice of ‘conversion therapy’.

On Wednesday morning, the Cabinet of Germany officially approved a draft bill that once in effect will outlaw the practice on 16-18 year-olds as well as minors. Any groups found to be promoting advertisements of conversion therapy will face a penalty of €30,000.

Practitioners will receive up to a one-year prison sentence along with the fine. Under the new law, parents or guardians who seek to ‘cure’ their children will also face punishment for violations to their duty of care. If it passes through Parliament, this will be one of the strictest articles of legislation to outlaw the practice on minors as well as adults who have been coerced or deceived.

In August 2019, OutRight Action International published the report Harmful Treatment: The Global Reach of So-Called Conversion Therapy, which highlighted that varying forms of conversion therapy are prevalent in countries across the globe. Earlier this year, an Irish senator stated that, “conversion therapy should be an option”.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine, published in 2019, denounced conversion therapy as a “harmful practice.” Numerous US doctors and professors called out for an end to it in America. 

Following the passing of the draft bill, executive director of OutRight Action International, Jessica Stern, said, “It is incredibly encouraging to see the Cabinet of Germany taking this step towards banning ‘conversion therapy’ practices, sending a powerful message that LGBTIQ people are not in need of change or cure. Demand for “conversion therapy” will decrease only if acceptance of LGBTIQ lives grows.”

Stern further stated, “As such, legal efforts to tackle ‘conversion therapy’ have to go hand in hand with measures designed to promote understanding and inclusion of LGBTIQ people. Germany is heading in this direction, and I hope to see other countries follow suit!”

The draft bill will pass to Parliament for voting. If passed, Germany will be the fifth country in the world to ban conversion therapy along with Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, and Taiwan. 

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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