French deputies approved a law on Tuesday to ban sexual “reorientation therapies,” which seek to impose normative heterosexuality on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, and punish their organizers with up to three years in prison.
“The conversion therapies, barbaric practices from another era, are now definitively prohibited in our country. Nothing to cure,” tweeted the Minister of Equality, Élisabeth Moreno, after the unanimous vote in the National Assembly (lower house).
The bill provides for the inclusion of a new crime in the Penal Code that punishes these practices with two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros ($34,000), a penalty that can rise to three years and 45,000 ($50,700) in certain cases. .
These practices that claim to “cure” homosexuals are little known. In 2019, legislators Laurence Vanceunebrock (Liberal) and Bastien Lachaud (Leftist) evoked a hundred recent cases and warned of the increase.
“Reorientation therapies” can take the form of exorcism, hospitalization or electroshock sessions, among a range of abuses that have long-lasting psychological and physical effects on victims, often young.
Several recent reports or testimonials received a great deal of media attention. Very popular singers among young French people like Eddy de Pretto and Hoshi even urged deputies to act.
With the adoption of this law, France follows in the footsteps of other countries such as Germany, Malta and some Spanish regions, which will soon be joined by Belgium, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. In Canada, lawmakers approved a similar proposal in June.
This proposal, which also received the approval of the Senate, allows the government of the liberal president, Emmanuel Macron, defend a more social image months before the presidential election in April and approach the center-left electorate.