More than 100,000 people have sent in submissions on New Zealand’s plan to ban LGBTQ conversion practices – more than have ever been made on a piece of legislation in that country.
According to a report in The Guardian, Shaneel Lal, an activist and organiser in the movement to ban conversion practices, said: “People really and truly care about this because in 2021 it is not appropriate to erase queer identities.”
The government received a total of 106 700 submissions on the Bill, which will make it a crime to conduct conversion practices – or attempting to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity. The submissions have not yet been processed, so it is not known how many were in favour of a ban – but Lal was optimistic that the majority would be, after a large-scale social media campaign asking people to submit their support. Lal said the campaign’s template for a submission to ban conversion practices had been opened more than 300 000 times.
Justice Select Committee chair Ginny Andersen told TVNZ it would take about two weeks for 41 staff to process the submissions. She said the committee would also hear about 3 000 oral submissions.
Simon Bridges, the opposition National Party’s justice spokesperson, said “the likelihood is that a majority of these are critical” of the Bill, and called for more time for the Bill to be considered. The legislation would make it an offence to perform conversion practices on anyone under 18, or with impaired decision-making capacity, with a sentence of up to three years’ imprisonment.
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