Another NI council set to debate principle of ‘conversion therapy’

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will be the latest council to debate and vote on “conversion therapy” when it meets this month.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 7:00 am
Dr Patricia O'Lynn

Such votes have come before a number of other authorities recently, but have no legal effect.

Rather, they simply represent a statement of principle against the practice.

When it meets on Monday, the council will discuss the following motion, put forward by Alliance councillor Dr Patricia O’Lynn: “This council opposes the harm caused to our LGBT+ community in the past through the denial of rights and equal treatment, and further recognises that discrimination still occurs today.

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“This council acknowledges and stands against the ongoing harm the practice of conversion therapy brings.”

The motion calls on the ministers for justice, health and communities to “introduce an effective ban on conversion therapy within Northern Ireland, supported by a programme of work to help tackle these practices in all their forms”.

Belfast City Council had already passed a somewhat similar motion, as reportedly has Mid Ulster District Council.

In March, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favour of a motion on outlawing “conversion therapy”.

At the time the DUP bloc voted against it on the grounds that there was no effective definition of what exactly it was they were supposed to be banning.

The motion which passed called on MLAs to “acknowledge the damage this practice causes to the mental health of those who are subjected to it” and “declares that it is fundamentally wrong to view our LGBTQ community as requiring a fix or cure”.

It ended by asking the Minister for Communities (SF’s Deirdre Hargey) to bring forward legislation before the end of the current Assembly mandate to ban conversion therapy “in all its forms”.

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