New Zealand bans conversion therapy

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Wellington: New Zealand’s parliament has almost unanimously passed a law banning practices aimed at forcibly changing a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, known as therapy conversion.

The bill, which was introduced by the government last year, passed with 112 votes in favor and eight votes against on Tuesday evening.

“It’s a great day for New Zealand’s rainbow communities,” Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said.

A flag of pride. Credit:PA

“Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand.”

The government has said practices such as conversion therapy don’t work, are widely discredited and cause harm.

Aiming to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, conversion therapy can include talk therapy, hypnosis, electric shocks, and fasting. In extreme cases worldwide, exorcism and “corrective rape” for lesbians have been documented.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made a talk therapy ban a promise of re-election.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made a talk therapy ban a promise of re-election.Credit:PA

The legislation also defines what is not a conversion practice and protects the right to express any opinion, belief, creed or religious principle that is not intended to alter or remove sexual orientation, identity gender or a person’s gender expression.

The government said it had received nearly 107,000 public submissions on the bill, the most public submissions ever received on any legislation.


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