Lethbridge MP votes against conversion therapy ban after petition started in city

It’s a significant step forward for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Bill C-6, which would ban conversion therapy — the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation — will now move before the Senate after it was passed in the House of Commons.

“We know that there’s nothing wrong or medically wrong about being a member of the community and it’s about time that our government stepped up and put legislation in place to protect that,” said Devon Hargreaves, who started a petition calling for a ban on conversion therapy.

Read more: Trudeau accuses Parliament of ‘toxicity’ as conversion therapy ban passes

That petition was the first step to Bill C-6.

After starting in Lethbridge, the petition gained over 18,000 signatures across Canada before being presented in the House by Saskatoon West MP Sheri Benson in 2019.

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Despite its connection to the city, Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder was one of 63 MPs to vote against the bill.

Read more: Lethbridge city council candidate calls Pride committee ‘not inclusive’ after not inviting him to speak at event

“I think the people of Lethbridge came together to draft this position, to write it, to promote it and to gather support for Bill C-6 across Canada,” Hargreaves said.

“The fact the represented member of Parliament for Lethbridge — for the riding that that petition came out of — could not support that, I’m very sad to see.”

Global News contacted Rachael Harder’s office for comment but was told she was not available.

A Conservative Party statement after the vote said the party supports banning conversion therapy, but there are concerns the Liberal Party’s definition could infringe on people’s ability to speak freely about sex and gender issues.

Read more: Lethbridge city council passes bylaw banning conversion therapy

Despite the vote, Hargreaves, who has spent time as a board member for Lethbridge Pride, said Lethbridge continues to be inclusive and has shown increased support for events like Pride Fest.

“To watch this city go from just a tiny event, a few hundred people to thousands, our city is very accepting” Hargreaves said. “We’re a forward-thinking city.”

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The City of Lethbridge passed a municipal bylaw banning conversion therapy last year.

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