Canada’s Conversion therapy Ban Goes Into Effect
The Canada conversion therapy ban went into effect on Friday, making the practice a punishable offense.
The ban, passed last year, classifies practicing conversion therapy as punishable by up to five years in prison regardless of the age or consent of those being subjected to the practice. Simply promoting or profiting from the practice carries a prison sentence of up to two years. The development makes Canada the fourth nation to ban the anti-LGBTQ practice, joining Brazil, Ecuador and Malta.
According to CTV News, The Canadian government called the new statute is “among the most comprehensive” in the world. A number of proposals to ban conversion therapy, including laws in 20 U.S. states and 100 U.S. cities, have only classified subjecting minors to the practice as a criminal offense. Washington, D.C. is the only American jurisdiction where subjecting adults to conversion therapy is banned.
“Our government’s legislation has come into force – which means it is now illegal to promote, advertise, benefit from or subject someone to this hateful and harmful practice. LGBTQ2 rights are human rights,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter. “This is a victory for Canada’s LGBTQ2 community and our entire country,” added Canadian MP David Lametti. “We are stronger when everyone can be who they are and love freely without fear.”
Study Launched On Risk Of Blood Donation by Gay Men
Blood donation non-profit Vitalant is partnering with OneBlood and the American Red Cross to gather and analyze data to determine the actual risk of blood donated by sexually active gay men.
Dubbed the “ADVANCE Study,” the analysis will look at blood samples and survey answers provided by volunteers in hopes it will remove some limitations on the blanket banning of gay male blood donation. The blanket policy dates back to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Gay men were prohibited from donating blood for decades until the ban was revised to allow gay men who hadn’t engaged in sexual activity for one year to donate blood in 2015.
That deferral period was reduced to three months in 2020, but blood donation organizations’ policies still applied simply on the basis of sexual orientation and base level sexual activity. “I think we understand a lot more about HIV and we don’t have to use those kinds of blanket deferrals in the future,” Dr. Brian Custer, Vitalant vice president of research told San Francisco local news outlet KPIX. “Maybe, one day, it will be eliminated altogether and the ADVANCE study is kind of the first step,” added Vitalant spokesperson Kevin Adler.
European Court Declines Religious Cake Refusal Case on Technical Basis
The European Court of Human Rights turned down hearing a case out of Northern Ireland Thursday that challenged a Christian baker’s refusal to make a cake supporting gay marriage.
The case dates back to 2014 when activist Gareth Lee asked Belfast bakery Ashers Baking Co. to make a cake showing “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie and the phrase “Support Gay Marriage.” Bakery owners Amy and Daniel McArthur refused to make the cake, citing doing so would go against their religious beliefs.
The Court deemed the case “inadmissible” because Lee “failed to exhaust domestic remedies” to settle the dispute. The decision was determined based on the fact that Lee hadn’t filed a challenge to a 2018 U.K. Supreme Court decision in the McArthurs’ favor in U.K. courts. Lee filed his complaint with the European Court claiming the Supreme Court’s ruling was counter to the European Convention of Civil Rights.
The ruling drew frustration from Lee and other U.K.-based LGBTQ advocacy groups. “When a commercial business is providing services to the public, they cannot discriminate against their customers or clients on any grounds protected by equality law,” Rainbow Project director John O’Doherty told NBC News. O’Doherty stated that the 2018 ruling created legal uncertainty and “with today’s decision, that uncertainty will remain.”
Canada Conversion Therapy: Previously on Towleroad
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