Norway bans conversion therapy

28-06-2022

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Photo Unsplash

The Norwegian government has passed a proposal that criminalises therapies that aim to change someone's sexual orientation. However, this proposal is not undisputed.

Soon, conversion therapies will be forbidden in Norway. Anyone violating this rule can be fined or imprisoned for up to six years. That is reported by Vårt Land. The government proposal will be up for consultation from now on. The deadline for the results is October 10.

If the proposal is adopted, advertisements that aim to change, deny or suppress people's sexual orientation or gender identity will also become illegal, Vårt Land writes. Anette Trettebergstuen, the Norwegian Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, says that this ban naturally follows a prohibition of the therapies themselves. "It is a violation in itself to receive inquiries for conversion bans", he said. Anyone who violates the marketing ban faces prison sentences of up to six months.

Furthermore, the ban applies when someone voluntarily asks for conversion therapy to live in line with their beliefs, [Dagen] https://www.dagen.no/nyheter/nytt-skjerpende-lovforslag-om-konverteringsterapi/) writes. Even when the 'conversion therapy' takes place abroad, Norwegians can be persecuted in their own country.

Intentional and methodological

According to the government, the ban on therapies does not contradict the principle of religious freedom. Such freedom does not allow people to consciously and methodologically inflict psychological damage on another person, says Labour politician Anette Trettebergstuen, according to Vårt Land.

She tells Dagen that people should be free to say what they want, as long as it does not "intentional and methodological" aim to change the view of a person on his or her orientation or gender identity." "If intercession or mourning is intended for that purpose, it will be forbidden", she adds.

Furthermore, Trettebergstuen believes that the ban will protect people against abuse. "We know that queers have poorer living conditions than others. Conversion therapy is a harmful practice when someone methodologically and intentionally tries to change other people because of who they are and who they love."

The proposal seems to be supported by the majority in the Storting, the Norwegian parliament. Also, the Conservatives said to be in favour of the ban.

“Ban deprives queers of self-determination"

The ban on conversion therapies is "on the verge of totalitarianism", Ole Gramstad Jensen writes in an opinion article in Dagen.

The lawyer and board member of Til Helhet – an organisation for Christian queers – argues that the draft law "deprives queer people of the right to self-determination." "The ministry says that queers are so delicate that they simply cannot have full consent competence. The state must take care of them."

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