NSW bans gay conversion therapy following all-night sitting in the upper house

Supporters of a ban on gay conversion therapy say new laws outlawing the controversial practice in NSW will “save countless lives”.

The state early on Friday joined Queensland and Victoria in banning gay conversion therapy, after a bill outlawing it passed parliament’s upper house following an all-night sitting.

The new laws, opposed by some religious groups, criminalise gay conversion practices and bring in a penalty of up to five years in jail.

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Independent MP Alex Greenwich, a driving force behind the laws, said he was grateful to the government for delivering a ban on the contentious therapy.

“LGBTQ people are loved and beautiful, and futile attempts to change or suppress who we are will now be illegal in NSW,” Greenwich said in a statement.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said the ending of the “archaic and cruel practice” of conversion therapy meant the state was a step closer to equality.

“It was worth one hell of a late night to be one step closer to full equality,” Faehrmann said on social media platform X.

LGBTQI+ advocacy group Equality Australia welcomed the passage of the legislation as a “historic step in the journey for LGBTQA+ people in this state”.

“This law will save countless people from a lifetime of pain and in some cases save lives,” the group’s chief executive Anna Brown said in a statement.

“It sends a powerful message that we are whole and valid, just as we are.”

Under the laws, religious leaders will still be able to tell a group that their faith believes being homosexual or queer is wrong, but directing any acts to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity could result in arrest.

Faith communities have been broadly supportive of the bill, although Christian Schools Australia has aired concerns about the civil scheme leading to activist litigation against religious beliefs.

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