France moves toward ban on so-called gay conversion therapy

PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers have unanimously backed proposed legislation that would ban so-called conversion therapy and authorize jail time and fines for practitioners who use the scientifically discredited practice to attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ people.

Parliament’s lower house voted 115-0 on Tuesday night for the draft law proposed by members of President Emmanuel Macron’s party. The text, which has the French government’s backing, now goes to the upper house for debate.

“Conversion therapies are deplorable,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said. “They cause terrible suffering.”

Veran tweeted with the hashtag “RienÀGuérir,” which translates as “Nothing to Cure” and is used online by backers of the proposed legislation.

The legislation includes criminal penalties for people who are convicted of trying to “convert” LGBTQ people to heterosexuality or traditional gender expectations.

The offense would be punishable by up to two years in jail and 30,000 euros ($34,600) in fines. The punishment could be increased to three years imprisonment and fines of 45,000 euros ($52,000) for attempts involving minors or other particularly vulnerable people.

Practicing therapy to change a person’s sexual orientation already is prohibited in multiple U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

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