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Australia Capital Territory passes bill banning conversion therapy
Australia Capital Territory passes bill banning conversion therapy

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Legislative Assembly passed the Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill on Thursday, banning the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ persons. Sexuality or gender identity conversion practices are “treatment[s] or other practice[s] the purpose, or purported purpose, of which is to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.” However, the bill specifically excludes practices like assisting a person undergoing or considering gender transition from the definition of conversion practice.

The bill provides for both criminal and civil remedies against people who practice conversion therapy. Practicing conversion therapy on protected individuals could result in up to a year in jail, up to $24,000 in criminal fines, or civil redress provided by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The bill was amended shortly before it was passed at the request of religious groups and ACT opposition leader Alistair Coe who feared the broad definition of conversion therapy would allow children to sue their parents.

The statute will go into effect in six months.