The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Parliament does not yet want a ban on conversion therapies

The Swiss parliament does not yet want a ban on conversion therapies in Switzerland. After the Council of States, on Tuesday the National Council also rejected two parliamentary initiatives from Lucerne and Basel-Stadt calling for a nationwide ban.

However, this does not mean that the National Council does not want a ban on such treatments to change a person's sexual orientation or self-perceived gender identity.

In December 2022, the Grand Chamber adopted a proposal from its Legal Affairs Committee for such a ban. It is now pending in the Council of States. Its Legal Affairs Committee has decided to wait until a federal report on this topic is available, which the National Council called for with a postulate in March 2022.

In the run-up to Tuesday's debate, a minority of the National Council's preliminary committee also called for this report to be awaited. A majority of the Council agreed with this demand and decided not to follow the status initiatives. These are therefore off the table. The decision was made by 99 votes to 77 with 13 abstentions.

Sibel Arslan (Greens/BS), spokesperson for the National Council's preliminary consultation committee, told the Council that the report ordered by the National Council from the Federal Council would be available this summer. From this point in time, Parliament will therefore once again be dealing with a ban on conversion therapies.

Topic in numerous cantons

A ban on conversion therapies has recently been discussed or decided in several cantonal parliaments. The parliament in Zug recently decided to convert a motion for a ban into a less binding postulate. A ban is therefore to be examined.

The Zurich Cantonal Council spoke out in favor of a ban on such therapies in November, as did the parliaments of Neuchâtel, Vaud and Bern - even before that. The Geneva government also announced a draft bill for a ban in May of last year.

Known from individual cases

It is not known how many such therapies are carried out in Switzerland. However, individual cases repeatedly come to the public's attention. In 2018, a homeopathic doctor practising in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud offered to "cure homosexuality". In 2020, a psychiatrist in Schwyz recommended himself for such "therapies".

©Keystone/SDA

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