Australia Capital Territory Bans Gay Conversion Therapy

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The ACT joins Queensland in outlawing the dangerous practice, with punishments of up to 12 months in jail.  

The Australia Capital Territory has banned Gay Conversion Therapy.

The territory’s legislative assembly passed into law the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill which will come into effect early next year and places a complete ban on conversion practices.

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Those found guilty of breaking the new law can receive up to a 12-month jail term.

The ABC reports that the law also provides civil penalties and gives the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal the ‘power to issue orders against people complained about, order redress and compensation.’

The bill defines sexuality or gender identity conversion practices as “a treatment or other practice … the purported purpose of which is to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.”

Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury, who co-sponsored the legislation, labelled the practice “abhorrent, dangerous and outdated”.

“Conversion practices are based on a bogus ideology that LGBTIQ+ people are ‘broken’ or ‘unnatural’ and need to be fixed. This could not be further from the truth,” the Minister told the assembly.

“They can lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, even suicide. Survivors say it can take a whole lifetime to undo the damage caused – if achieved at all.”

The bill’s passage comes only weeks after Queensland passed similar legislation and makes the ACT the second jurisdiction in Australia to outlaw gay conversion therapy, with Victoria set to do so by the end of this year also.

Gay conversion therapy remains legal in New Zealand.

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