Mauricio Toro, the House Representative who presented a bill to Congress to end the so-called “conversion therapies”, was recused on Tuesday for his sexual orientation and for an alleged “conflict of interest”.

The challenge was filed by a citizen against Toro arguing that the law establishes as a conflict of interest “a situation where the discussion or vote on a bill or legislative act may result in a particular, current and direct benefit in favor of the congressman.”

To which he adds that the bill that seeks to end the discrimination of conversion therapies in Colombia “is not a project of general interest, but rather a particular one”, since “it only benefits diverse people such as representative Mauricio Toro, and it does not establish the same standards of protection for heterosexual people”.

According to the plaintiff, an example of this is that the initiative does not prohibit Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Gender Expression (Ecosieg) for heterosexual people when “they try to convert them into homosexual people.”

“Today homophobia walked through the Congress of the Republic,” Toro lamented on his Twitter account, condemning “the homophobic and discriminatory arguments” with which the challenge was approved. Toro is the first openly gay representative of the Colombian Congress.

In a joint statement from Toro and the All Out and Volcánicas organizations, they maintain that “the main argument is that because Toro is gay, he cannot present projects to protect the LGBTI community due to conflict of interest. A woman has never been recused in Congress, Afro or peasant for defending their community.

Representative Carlos Eduardo Acosta celebrated through social networks that they managed to “sink bill 461 of 2022, through which individual freedoms and fundamental rights were attacked. Remember when we have the truth and reason in one hand, there is no reason why to silence”.

However, the bill is not sunk, but the debate was suspended and can be debated until June 20. With the debate stopped, the next step is to resolve the challenge in depth, after which a new session will be called to debate the project, they informed Efe from the representative Toro’s campaign.

On May 10, a bill was filed in the House of Representatives to ban so-called conversion therapies in the country that “attack the rights of the LGTB community” and involve “torture.”

Corrective violations, exorcisms, “spiritual retreats”, rites and other similar practices are some of the Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Gender Expression (Ecosieg), the appropriate way to refer to those popularly known as “therapies Of conversation”.

In this sense, the project seeks to sanction health professionals and non-professionals who submit to conversion therapies and create sanctioning and aggravating criminal-type mechanisms based on “exactly defining” what they are in order to prevent churches from hiding behind which is their “religious freedom”.

The text insists that homosexuality or diverse gender identities are not a pathology, they are not a disease that can be cured, something recognized by the World Health Organization.

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