Germany has become the fifth country to ban gay conversion therapy for minors under 18 years old — joining Brazil, Ecuador, Malta and Taiwan.
The widely-discredited therapy, which claims to be able to change a person’s sexuality, has been condemned by medical experts; LGBT people who have reported being threatened and forced into receiving the treatment have suffered psychological trauma.
Germany’s new ban outlaws providing or advertising the therapy to children under the age of 18. People who break the law can face up to a year in prison or a $32,535 fine.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is gay, first announced plans to ban the practice last June — drafting a bill in November, the BBC reported.
“Homosexuality is not a disease. Therefore the name therapy alone is misleading,” Spahn, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats party, said in a statement.
”This so-called therapy makes people sick and not better. The ban is also an important signal from society to all those who are unsure about their homosexuality: It is okay to be the way you are.”
In the United States, 20 states have banned the so-called therapy for minors.
Last September, it was revealed that New York City Council was moving to repeal a conversion therapy ban, which went beyond the state laws, barring providing conversion therapy to those of all ages.
The New York City ban had been approved two years earlier after anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit.
LGBTQ advocates feared the lawsuit could potentially reach the right-leaning US Supreme Court, leading to a precedent-setting ruling in ADF’s favor.
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