New Zealand introduces bill to outlaw LGBT conversion therapy

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07/29/2021

WELLINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) – New Zealand introduced on Friday legislation that proposes up to five years in prison for practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, known as LGBT conversion therapy. The proposed measures were aimed at ending such practices, which do not work, are widely discredited, and cause harm, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said in a statement. “Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand. They are based on the false belief that any person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is broken and in need of fixing,” Faafoi said. “Health professionals, religious leaders and human rights advocates here and overseas have spoken out against these practices as harmful and having the potential to perpetuate prejudice, discrimination and abuse towards members of rainbow communities,” he added. Under the newly proposed bill, anyone performing conversion practices on person younger than 18, or on someone with impaired decision-making capacity, would be subject to up to 3 years imprisonment. Conversion practices that cause serious harm would carry a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment. The government said that the bill does not address general expression of religious beliefs or principles about sexuality and gender. Laws against conversion therapy have been gaining momentum around the world, including in countries such as Canada, Britain and Australia.

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