No law to ban ‘cures’ for homosexuality, despite MPs’ wishes

The caretaker cabinet has no plans for draft legislation to ban therapies to ‘cure’ people who are attracted to others of the same sex, despite calls by a majority of MPs, health minister Hugo de Jonge and justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus have said in a briefing.

While the cabinet wants to ‘act forcibly’ against such therapies, it is too difficult to exactly define what they entail, the ministers said. This is because they largely consist of encouraging people to repress their emotions and because they largely take place within closed religious communities, the ministers said.

There are some 15 organisations and individuals in the Netherlands who offer conversion therapy, according to research published last June.

The report, commissioned by the health ministry, showed that the therapy can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, loneliness and sexual problems.

The ministers said they would attempt to tackle the problem by offering more support to the LHBTI community and by working with religious communities in drawing up a code of conduct. At the same time, they said, they are commissioning further research on the options for legal action, which will be published in the autumn.

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