German cabinet to approve draft ban on ‘conversion therapy’ for gays

The German cabinet is to approve a draft bill banning so-called “conversion therapy” for homosexuals before it is presented in the lower house of the federal parliament in Berlin, Health Minister Jens Spahn told RND journalists on Tuesday.

According to Spahn, advertising or offering conversion therapy is to be prohibited and fines of up to 30,000 euros (33,000 dollars) put into place.

Spahn, of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), said the draft had been made tougher in places.

An earlier draft had allowed conversion therapy for 16- to 18-year-olds when their therapist confirmed that the person concerned had been informed about the treatment and its risks.

The new draft also bans conversion therapy for this age group.

“Conversion therapy” is a term that describes the psychological, social or spiritual methods used in trying to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual. These methods can include therapy in a family environment, prayer or exorcism.

Spahn said conversion therapy is carried out up to 2,000 times a year in Germany. “That is 2,000 times too often,” he told RND.

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