The new law has banned the “therapy” for young people nationwide and those attempting to practice it will be fined or imprisoned.
The legislation intends to stop those offering the service – which claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation – to under-18s.
Those that are found to offer the “therapy” to anyone under the age of 18 could face up to a year in prison or a €30,000 (£26,268) fine.
The law also outlines that parents and guardians who force their children to attend such programmes may also be charged for violating their duty of care.
Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn, who is gay himself, said: “Young people are being forced into conversion therapies and so it is very important that they should find support in the existence of this law: a clear signal that the state does not want this to happen.
“Homosexuality is not an illness. Therefore the term ‘therapy’ is already misleading.”
The opposition Green Party, who first called for the ban in 2013, believe that the law does not go far enough and that the age limit should be raised to 26.
According to the Magnus Hirschfield Foundation, a human rights organisation in Berlin, some 1,000 people are subjected to conversion therapy in Germany each year.
Green legislators wrote: “At the very least, young people aged between 18 and 26 need comparable protection, as is shown by the experiences of coming out and many young people’s dependence on their families.”
The practices can include hypnosis and electric shocks. But experts say the word “therapy” is misleading because there is no scientific basis for it.
Conversion therapies are banned in much of South America, in Switzerland, and in many US states.
On this day…
In 1945… The German Instrument of Surrender was signed at Reims and came into effect, which saw an end to World War II.
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