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Canada’s bid to ban ‘conversion therapy’ takes big step forwards in landslide vote

Canada’s bid to ban ‘conversion therapy’ takes big step forwards in landslide vote

  • The bill achieved cross-party support but still faces more hurdles before becoming law.
Canadian Conservative MP Derek Sloan.

Canada’s House of Commons has agreed in principle to ban LGBT+ ‘conversion therapy’ in a landslide vote.

But while the house voted 308 to seven in favor, some opposition Conservatives are unhappy. Many are demanding changes to the bill before it becomes law.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole voted in favour of the bill himself. 

However, while the majority of his 121 MPs voted with him, seven voted against. Another two Conservatives abstained. And eight more made it clear they were only supporting the bill with reservations.

They hope the Commons justice committee will amend it before it goes any further.

The battle continues

The bill will ban ‘conversion therapy’, designed to change sexual orientation or gender identity, for minors.

It will also outlaw people from forcing an adult to undergo conversion therapy against their will.

Under the proposals, it will also be illegal to take a minor out of Canada so they can have an LGBT+ ‘cure’ abroad.

Moreover it will be illegal to profit from providing ‘conversion therapy’ or to advertise that you do provide it.

Independent experts around the world, including all leading psychological and psychiatric bodies, agree there is no scientific evidence that ‘conversion therapy’ works.

They also agree it often causes significant harm to LGBT+ life. The Canadian Psychological Association warns it can result in problems including anxiety, depression, difficulty sustaining relationships and sexual dysfunction.

Despite this, some are keen to see it continue – particularly among religious organizations. In fact, around the world, it is religious groups that conduct the majority of the so-called ‘cures’ and ‘therapies’, rather than psychologists or therapists.

One supporter is Conservative Derek Sloan MP, who O’Toole beat to the party’s leadership this summer. He claims banning dangerous ‘conversion therapy’ will legalize ‘child abuse’.

In the debate, Sloan warned the bill would outlaw prayer, before going on to vote against it.

Despite the opposition, however, it looks increasingly likely that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party will pass the legislation.

If they are successful, Canada will join Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany which already have national legal bans.