France has a new law that bans conversion therapies and authorises jail time and fines for practitioners who use the scientifically discredited practice to attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ people.
The National Assembly approved the new law unanimously, voting 142 to 0 on Tuesday evening.
The legislation includes criminal penalties for people who are convicted of trying to “convert” LGBTQ people to heterosexuality or traditional gender expectations.
Politician Laurence Vanceunebrock, who helped steer the law’s passage through parliament, said it would target “all those who equated an identity or a sexual orientation with sickness”.
“There is nothing to cure,” she told the National Assembly.
The French government’s equalities and diversity minster, Elisabeth Moreno, described conversion therapies as “barbaric” and told politicians that the suffering they inflicted “very often leaves permanent marks on bodies and minds”.
The punishment can increase to three years’ imprisonment and fines of 45,000 euros (£38,000) for attempts involving minors or other particularly vulnerable people.
Therapies to change a person’s sexual orientation are already prohibited in multiple US states and the US Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico.
The law will take effect in the next 14 days with President Emmanuel Macron’s signoff.
Mr Macron hailed the legislation’s passage, tweeting: “Let’s be proud of it. Because being oneself is not a crime.”