France has just passed a new law that bans conversion therapies and will give jail time and fines to those who use the practice in an attempt to change somebody’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The National Assembly has approved the new law unanimously, voting on Tuesday evening with 142 votes to 0.
The new legislation will see criminal penalties to people who are convicted of trying to “convert” LGBTQ people to traditional gender roles or to be heterosexual.
The law also allows for campaigners to file civil suits on behalf of victims, something the French parliament hailed as a breakthrough for those who are unable to contact the police directly.
Politician Laurence Vanceunebrock, who helped get this law passed, said this would target “all those who equated an identity or a sexual orientation with sickness”.
“There is nothing to cure,” she told the National Assembly.
La loi interdisant les thérapies de conversion est adoptée à l'unanimité !
Soyons-en fiers, ces pratiques indignes n'ont pas leur place en République. Parce qu’être soi n’est pas un crime, parce qu’il n’y a rien à guérir.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 25, 2022
The French government’s equalities and diversity minster, Elisabeth Moreno, described these conversion therapies as “barbaric” and told politicians that when it is endured it “very often leaves permanent marks on bodies and minds”.
These efforts “aim to modify or reprimand sexual orientation or gender identity” and can impact a persons physical or mental health, and it is now punishable by up to two years in jail and €30,000 in fines.
If the conversion therapy involves a minor or particularly vulnerable people, the punishment can increase to three years in prison and fines of €45,000.
Coversion therapy to change someone’s sexual orientation are already prohibited in multiple US states and the US Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico.
The law in France is set to take effect with in the next two weeks, with President Emmanuel Macron’s signoff.
Macron was full of praise for the legislation’s passage, tweeting: “Let’s be proud of it. Because being oneself is not a crime.”