The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to condemn gay ‘cure’ therapy and urged member countries to ban the harmful practice.
The EU body voted by 435 to 109 to adopt text calling on member states to outlaw the discredited practice.
Experts overwhelmingly agree that attempts to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often extremely harmful. Attempts to force people to repress their sexuality have been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.
Performing gay cure therapy on minors is already is illegal in nine US states and counting, as well as Switzerland, Malta, Taiwan, two Canadian provinces, and the Australian state of Victoria.
The European Parliament added its voice to the issue today when it greenlit an amendment that disavows gay cure practices.
It says: “[The European Parliament] welcomes initiatives prohibiting LGBTI conversion therapies and banning the pathologisation of trans identities and urges all Member States to adopt similar measures that respect and uphold the right to gender identity and gender expression”.
It is the first time the Parliament has made the specific disavowal of conversion therapies.
The vote came on an amendment to the Parliament’s annual report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, which was later adopted.
The report also condemns discrimination against LGBT people, and calls for “the inclusion in school curricula of education about the value of tolerance” to tackle anti-LGBT and other kinds of discrimination.
The amended report also includes calls for the Commission and Member States to guarantee freedom of movement for same-sex couples and their families, while a section on trans rights “calls on Member States to recognise change of gender and to provide access to quick, accessible and transparent legal gender recognition procedures without medical requirements such as surgery or sterilisation”.
Terry Reintke MEP and Malin Björk MEP of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, said: “Despite great progress in many countries over the last decade, discrimination against LGBTI people is still a reality in the EU.
“LGBTI people should be free from discrimination, bullying, and violence. Their right to self-determination should be guaranteed, and their bodily integrity protected.”
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The Intergroup’s Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP noted that only a small number of EU member countries “have explicitly banned LGBTI conversion therapies” to date.
The MEP continued: “The UN Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Human Rights Committee have already condemned the practice of conversion therapy in several countries.”
In the UK, medical bodies including the NHS have signed a voluntary Memorandum of Understanding that disavows gay cure therapy.
However, unregulated quacks and fringe faith groups remain free to carry out the controversial therapy, and the government has resisted calls for explicit legislation to clamp down on it.
British health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: “This is an issue the Government is keeping under review and we are constantly working towards improving the evidence base.”
She added: “The Government rejects utterly the notion that sexuality is something to be cured, and condemns gay conversion therapy.
“The evidence base is clear that conversion therapy is not only ineffective, but is potentially harmful to participants.
“That is why officials have worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy, to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to help put a stop to this bogus treatment.”