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Canada may soon have the world’s “most progressive and comprehensive” conversion therapy ban

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and his family take part in the 38th annual Pride Parade in Vancouver, Canada, July, 31, 2016.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marches in an LGBTQ Pride parade.Photo: Shutterstock

The Canadian government has introduced legislation to ban conversion therapy across the country. Parliament is expected to approve the bill, making it the “most progressive and comprehensive” conversion therapy ban anywhere in the world.

The legislation would add five laws to Canada’s criminal code prohibiting anyone from advertising, profiting off of, or forcing any child or adult into any therapy that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It would also prohibit sending someone out of the country to undergo such therapy.

Related: Virginia bans conversion therapy for minors. It’s the first southern state to do it.

The bill also defines conversion therapy as “socially harmful” because it spreads misinformation and stereotypes about sexual orientation and gender identity, specifically the idea that either one can be changed.

Canada’s Attorney General and Federal Justice Minister David Lametti said the proposed legislation won’t target private conversations with faith leaders, mental health professionals, teachers, or school counselors nor will it ban any therapy seeking to support people struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Conversion therapy has been discredited and denounced by professionals and health associations in Canada, the United States, and around the world. It has no basis on science or facts,” Lametti said.

True to form, conservative sites like The Blaze and LifeSiteNews are claiming that the ban would criminalize prayer, take away the tax-exempt status of churches, shut down Christian schools, designate Christian organizations as hate groups, and forbid Christian parents from adopting kids. None of these things are listed as penalties for violating the ban.

Right now 20 U.S. states ban conversion therapy, as well as a handful of countries including Uruguay, Ecuador, and Malta.

The actual methods of ex-gay therapy are shady and questionable including forced celibacy, rigorous Bible study, exercising to exhaustion, and other outlandish methods like avoiding music or any physical contact with people of the same sex.

A 2013 survey found that 84 percent of former patients of ex-gay therapy said it inflicted lasting shame and emotional harm.

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