Canada’s House of Commons last week voted unanimously to ban the ineffective and harmful practice of conversion therapy.
The measure, proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party, was first introduced in March 2020 but died after parliament was prorogued.
After passing the House of Commons, the bill must now be approved by the upper Senate chamber before it becomes law.
“It’s an important day to…express yourself and understand yourself the way you are and the way you want to be,” Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters.
The bill was approved by the House in June after being reintroduced, but again failed to pass ahead of the September federal election. But the legislation was fast-tracked on Wednesday after a surprise motion by Conservatives.
The Guardian reports that Lametti praised the Conservatives, led by Erin O’Toole, for bringing the motion forward.
“There are clearly people in the Conservative caucus who exercised a great deal of leadership on the issue, and I thank them,” he said. “This is what we can do when parliament works together.”
According to Reuters, senior gay Liberals, some fighting back tears, said members of the LGBTQ community will no longer have to endure the harm of talk therapy, electric shocks or other practices meant to change their gender identity or sexuality.
“We said we wanted people to be on the right side of history on this issue. No one can consent to torture,” said Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who is gay advises Trudeau on LGBTQ issues. “It’s a great day for survivors, to know that no one else is going to go through what they went through.”
“I dream of the day when LGBTQ issues are no longer political footballs. And we are one day closer to that future,” he said, The Guardian reports.
The vote puts Canada one step closer to becoming one of a handful of countries where conversion therapy is illegal.
A May 2020 United Nations report found that conversion therapy is performed in at least 68 countries, though experts say versions of it are practiced in all nations.
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