Canada is a step closer to banning conversion therapy.
On Wednesday, Members of Parliament (MPs) on both sides of the aisle voted unanimously to approve the legislation. The Liberal bill was fast-tracked through the House of Commons by Conservative Rob Moore, the Canadian Press reports.
The bill will now go to the Senate, which must approve the measure. A similar bill passed by the House in June — although without unanimous support — failed to pass through the upper chamber before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an election, which was held in September.
“We said we wanted people to be on the right side of history on this issue,” said Tourism Minister and special advisor to Trudeau on LGBT issues Randy Boissonnault, speaking to reporters after the vote. “No one can consent to torture.”
He added, “It’s a great day for survivors, to know that no one else is going to go through what they went through.”
The unanimous support for the bill in the House this time around came as a surprise to the Liberal MPs, the BBC reports, adding that some Conservative members had expressed concern that the bill’s wording “could [criminalize] private conversations about sexuality or gender identity between children and teachers, religious leaders or mental health professionals” — concerns which the Liberal Justice Minister David Lametti said were “unfounded.”
In a statement to reporters after the vote, Lametti thanked Conservatives for their role in the bill’s passage, the Canadian Press reports. “There are clearly people in the Conservative caucus who exercised a great deal of leadership on the issue, and I thank them. I thank them sincerely. They have done a very important thing for Canadians.”