Germany prohibits ‘gay conversion therapy’ for young people under the age of 18
- New law bans promoting ‘therapy’ to suppress sexual identity among under-18s
- It also contains penalties for parents forcing children to undergo ‘therapy’
- Those caught forcing or seducing adults into “treatment” will also be punished
- “Homosexuality is not a disease,” said openly gay health minister Jens Spahn
Germany has passed a new law banning ‘gay conversion therapy’ for young people under 18.
The new law means anyone who is caught promoting services to ‘cure’ youth homosexuality will be fined up to £ 30,000 or a year in prison.
Parents and carers who force young people to undergo such treatment are also punished for failing to meet their duty of care.
The law also contains penalties for those who “cheat, coerce or threaten an adult” into “treatment,” although there is no outright ban.
German health minister Jens Spahn, who is openly gay, announced the adoption of a new law on Friday banning ‘gay conversion therapy’ for young people under 18
“Homosexuality is not a disease,” said openly gay health minister Jens Spahn when he announced the policy, “so the term therapy is already misleading.
‘[Young people] feel stronger like the state, society, when Parliament makes it clear: we don’t want that in this country. ‘
The move won the support of most midfielders in Germany, although the far-right AfD party largely abstained, except for one vote against.
The more liberal parties also abstained, arguing that it does not go far enough and that the age limit should be raised to 27 years.
Spahn said it should be clear that Germany is trying to discourage the practice in general, but he wanted the law to stand up to legal challenge.
Under German law, it is much easier to protect children than adults when matters such as freedom of choice and expression must be taken into account.
The law also prohibits the promotion of a service aimed at suppressing or altering a person’s sexuality among young people under the age of 18, as well as misleading an adult from undergoing ‘treatment’ (file image)
Gay conversion therapy is most commonly associated with parts of the U.S. with treatments that may include hypnosis, psychotherapy, and even electric shock.
But it has also gained a foothold in European countries, including Germany, with the country’s Union of Catholic Physicians announcing in 2011 that they have developed a ‘cure’ for homosexuality.
Gero Winkelmann, a practicing GP at the time, said at the time that ‘these people have a sick tendency’ who needs treatment.
His comments proved hugely controversial and were precipitated by the German Behavioral Therapy Association.
According to the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, a Berlin-based human rights organization, about 1,000 people are currently undergoing conversion therapy in Germany every year.