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Gender conversion practices are now banned in New Zealand

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past the New Zealand parliament building known as the Beehive in central Wellington, New Zealand, July 3, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

The parliament of New Zealand on Tuesday passed a legislation banning practices intended to forcibly change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The practice which is known as conversion therapy, where the person’s gender expression are altered has now been banned by the New Zealand government.

The news: This bill was already introduced by the government last year and is the one which passed with more than 100 votes.

  • The Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi said, “This is a great day for New Zealand’s rainbow communities. Conversion practices have no place in modern New Zealand.”

What’s going on: Conversion therapy, has been declared by the government to be ineffective, widely discredited and harmful.

  • The legislation in New Zealand also specifies what constitutes conversion practice and protects the right to express an opinion, belief, religious belief, or principle that is not intended to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • With this the government has even said that it had received nearly 107,000 public submissions on the bill.
  • These submissions are recorded as the highest number of public submissions ever, to be received on any legislation.

What are they saying: It will be illegal to perform conversion practices on a child or young person under the age of 18, or on someone with impaired decision-making capacity, under the new legislation. Such offenses would be punishable by up to three years in prison.

  • It will also be an offense to perform conversion practices on anyone – regardless of age – where the practices have caused serious harm, with offenders facing up to five years in prison.
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