Concerns Arise Around Government's Bill To Ban Conversion Therapy

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2018 07:12 AM

The Liberal government's proposed ban on conversion therapy is coming under fire.

That's the discredited pseudoscience of trying to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The proposed bill would prevent organizations who provide or advocate for intervention from receiving public money and make the practice uninsurable for adults.

Jessica Durling is a Human Rights Activist who is glad to see the province move towards a ban.

However, she is concerned about a loophole which permits minors to be subjected to the practice.

"In many times, you get in situations where parents are making the minors consent to it, making the minors go or they will be kicked out of their homes."

Durling says that makes no sense as minors are most susceptible to pressures.

"It is torture. I don't just want to see it outlawed, I want a conversion therapist to be held accountable. I want to see them put on trial and look their victims in the eyes."

Durling says LGBTQ people need to be accepted, not cured, no matter their age.

Nova Scotia's justice minister says the provision to allow mature minors to consent to conversion therapy is established within the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mark Furey says the courts have deemed in some cases youth are able to consent when it comes to their own health care, which is why the provision was made.

"So we're just acknowledging and recognizing what the courts have established in exempting 16, 17 and 18 year-olds."

Furey maintains conversion therapy would not be insured for youth either, and says government has a responsibility not to infringe on their rights.

"That's why we didn't apply this in the broadest of terms and ban it for adults. You just can't. You would never be able to withstand the constitutional challenge. People have the right to make their own decisions."

All three parties introduced legislation regarding conversion therapy after a church group planned to host two conversion therapy activists at a youth camp earlier this year.

Reported by Ed Halverson & Brittany Wentzell
Twitter: @edwardhalverson @BrittWentzell