Dutch government not willing to ban gay conversion therapy

04-06-2021

Western Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Dutch minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus. Photo ANP, Phil Nijhuis

Minister Ferd Grapperhaus thinks that criminal justice is not the correct answer to fight against gay conversion therapy.

The minister of Justice in the Dutch caretaker government said that on Friday, according to the Dutch Reformatorisch Dagblad. Four liberal and left-wing parties had announced to bring forward a private member’s bill against controversial healing therapy. These parties are the liberal VVD, the social-liberal D66, the Labour party PvdA and the leftist GroenLinks.

The parties asked the government to come up with a bill against conversion therapy. Still, the government had not shown any activity. On Friday, the minister said that he thinks other instruments could be more straightforward and more practical. “Fines and naming and shaming are effective.” Fines are not part of criminal law but administrative law. That works much quicker, with the same effect. “Then you can give a straight answer and say: you stop this, or else.”

He still thinks that this ‘healing therapy’ is “disgusting”. Grapperhaus sees a role for education. It should focus on the fact that everyone in the Netherlands is equal and that “your sexual orientation is your own”.

On Friday, the Young Democrats, the younger branch of the social-liberal party D66, had a stall in the neighbourhood of Binnenhof in The Hague, where the government buildings are, to offer “heterogenous healing therapy”. By doing so, they want to show how “absurd” gay conversion is.

According to the gay lobby group COC, there are at least fifteen providers of gay healing in the Netherlands. They should be part of the Pentecostal, Baptist and Evangelical churches. It is unclear who is really meant by this since nobody is defending a ‘therapy’ like this.

D66 MP Jeanet van der Laan thinks it’s “too crazy for words that in our country homosexual conversions still take place to change or suppress someone’s identity. That is harmful and hurtful. It must stop as soon as possible”.

VVD MP Hatte van der Woude calls the therapy “medieval, stupid and traumatic for the young people subjected to it”.

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