Gay ‘cure’ therapy likened to female genital mutilation as Ireland demanded to forbid it

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Senator Fintan Warfield, who is spokesperson on LGBTQI rights for Irish republican party Sinn Féin, introduced the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018, the goal of which is to make conversion practices for gay people illegal. The bill went before the Seanad in the Irish Parliament for its second reading as the government confirmed that they would support the initiative. Several senators who rose in support of the bill shared moving contributions from people who had undergone such harmful practices. Senator Ivana Bacik, who led previously-adopted legislation on FGM, responded: “Senator Norris referred to the Private Members’ Bill on female genital mutilation which was initiated in this House by me and passed some years ago. It is a useful parallel to make. There was unanimous support for that Bill, as there is for this one. The Minister for Health accepted the Bill and we steered it through the House, with Government amendments. Similarly, it created extra-territorial effect for various criminal offences. It has been an important Bill not just in terms of the practical impact, and there have been Garda investigations under it where the dreadful practice of FGM has come to light in Ireland, but also in that it has provided an important tool for advocacy to the many women’s and other groups campaigning to end the practice of female genital mutilation. I see this Bill in the same light. It also sends an important symbolic message as to the type of society we wish to live in, quite apart from the practical impact.”

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