conversion therapyMalta is the first European country to ban the dangerous practice.

Malta’s parliament has unanimously voted to ban gay conversion therapy, becoming the first European country to make the controversial practice illegal.

Under the new law, anyone who tries to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression” will be fined or even jailed. Any medical professional practising or advertising the controversial therapy will be fined up to 10,000 euros or jailed for up to five years.

According to Malta Today, the bill also enshrines in law that “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort”.

The new ruling will see Malta remain one of the most progressive places in the world for LGBT rights.

In a statement, The Malta Chamber of Psychologists, the Maltese Association of Psychiatry, the Malta Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, and the Malta Association for the Counselling Profession said: “[We] openly disapprove of practices which are harmful to people in our community.

“Not only does it reject a group of individuals on the basis of unfound prejudice and lack of tolerance for diversity, but also because it impinges on the international recognition of LGBTIQ rights.

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons, and are determined to continue working towards ensuring our clients can enjoy as safe a therapeutic experience as they deserve.”

The World Psychiatric Association has denounced the practise as unethical, unscientific and harmful to those who undergo it.

In the US, five states have banned the practice.