Dutch parliament wants to ban gay conversion therapy

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, wants Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security to create a legislative proposal to ban gay conversion therapy. Parliamentarians called such "cures"' for one's sexuality "indigestible" and "harmful", the Telegraaf reports.

This VVD proposal got support from a majority in the Kamer, including from the D66, GroenLinks, SP and PvdA. Christian parties CDA, ChristenUnie and SGP, and populists PVV and FvD voted against. 

"In the Netherlands, everyone must be free to be themselves and love whoever he or she wants. Trying to change one's sexual orientation goes completely against this and makes no sense at all", VVD parliamentarian Dilan Yesilgoz said. "Let these people heal themselves from homophobia, I would say."

D66 MP Vera Bergkamp called gay conversion therapy "harmful", according to the Telegraaf. "You can not change people in their essence and you should not want that at all. People need to be protected against so-called 'cures' for homosexuality, especially young people and vulnerable people."

In a response the PVV told the newspaper that it rejects gay conversion therapy "in al possible ways", but the party doesn't think that governments should interfere in things like "mindfulness, prayer healing and gay healing".

FvD parliamentarian Theo Hiddema expressed similar sentiments, saying that the party doesn't want to tell people how to live their lives. "We are a libertarian party. If someone is upset about their sexual orientation and thinks they can get rid of it through gay conversion therapy, they should be allowed to do so", he said. Hiddema expects that potential victims can be decisive enough to defend themselves against gay healers. "If there is a fool somewhere, you just send him away or laugh at him."

The CDA said it voted against the proposal because it was "superfluous", according to the newspaper. "Criminal law offers sufficient possibilities to prosecute in such cases - when there is coercion or if something is discriminatory."

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