Israel: ‘Gay conversion’ therapy ban bill passed by MPs

Israel – Israel MPs have taken steps to outlaw the practice of “gay conversion” therapy by psychologists – the first middle East country to do so.

A bill passed its first stage in parliament, after two parties in the coalition government joined the opposition to vote in favour.

Last year, Israel’s then education minister endorsed the therapy, triggering a backlash. The bill risks a political crisis, with religious parties unhappy with the move.

The bill needs to pass two more readings before it becomes law.

“Conversion therapy” refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity. It has been widely opposed on logical, ethical and moral grounds.

UK PM Boris Johnson called the supposed method “absolutely abhorrent” earlier this week, saying that plans to ban it in the UK would be brought forward.

Opposition  Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz, who co-authored the bill said its preliminary passage marked “historic change” in history.

In a tweet, he said: “Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of the law and the public norm”.

“We will make sure that everyone, from every background and sexual orientation in Israel, has free choice and security over their identity”.

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