Thursday, November 01, 2018

Banning "conversion therapy"

"Conversion therapy" is an unpleasant form of bigot quackery which claims to "cure" or at least suppress people's sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, Labour MP Marja Lubeck has put up a bill to ban it:

Lubeck's bill, the Prohibition of Conversion Therapy Bill, prohibits any person from advertising, offering, or performing a treatment that seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity in New Zealand.

"Conversion therapy is unproven, widely condemned and does not reflect the values of a modern and compassionate New Zealand."

She said the bill is about supporting young people to be proud of who they are.

Firstly, there's an obvious prima facie Bill of Rights violation with the advertising ban and the right to freedom of expression. But I'm confident that that will be found to be a justified limitation in a free and democratic society. We already prohibit quack medical advertisements, and this seems no different. As for the actual practice, the article notes that the NZ Association of Psychotherapists and the NZ Association of Counsellors note that it violates basic ethical standards for their practice. In other words, they prohibit it already. Insofar as its performed by non-professionals, it seems to be practising (purported) medicine without a licence - again, something we protect the public from. Add in the important duty of the government to protect people from discrimination, and I have no trouble at all with this bill.

Naturally, of course, leader of the opposition Simon Bridges is uncertain. Which I think tells you everything you need to know about the man. He's a snivelling little worm, too immoral to do what is right, but lacking the courage of his convictions to be open about his bigotry. Which seems to be a long tradition in the National Party...