Canada’s House of Commons votes to ban LGBT conversion therapy
The House of Commons in Canada gave a unanimous vote to ban LGBT conversion therapy in the country, with conservative lawmakers joining their liberal counterparts to support the measure.
The bill was proposed by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With the House of Commons’ approval, it now goes to the upper chamber of Senate.
The American Medical Association as well as other medical groups around the world have condemned conversion therapy– which would change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity– as harmful and ineffective.
Canada lawmakers unite for the vote
There was a surprise move by the opposition Conservative lawmakers to fast track the motion for the measure. This was greeted by elation at the lower chamber.
After the vote, Liberal cabinet ministers went to thank their Conservative colleagues.
Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters: “There are clearly people in the Conservative caucus who exercised a great deal of leadership on the issue, and I thank them.”
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, a special advisor for Trudeau on LGBT issues, said: “We said we wanted people to be on the right side of history on this issue. No one can consent to torture.”
Boissonnault, who is gay, also said: “I dream of the day when LGBTQ2 issues are no longer political footballs. And we are one day closer to that future.”
The struggle to push the ban
The House had previously approved an earlier version of the measure, but it didn’t get past the Senate before the recent September elections.
Before that, Trudeau’s administration had introduced the bill last year but it didn’t progress after the government prorogued parliament.
However, the current head of the Conservatives, Erin O’Toole, is an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights.
With the motion to fast track of the bill, legislators can avoid having to record their vote. Earlier, 62 Conservatives had voted against the motion.
Canada joins small group to ban therapy
Currently, a UN report has identified at least 68 countries where the conversion therapy is still being practiced.
However, experts noted that some version of the practice is still found in all nations.
With the recent move by the Canadian legislators, their country will be next to join Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, and Malta as the nations that have outright banned the practice.
While the UK has a bill pending against the practice, it only proposes restricting it rather than outright banning it.