A petition launched by the Green Party to outlaw conversion therapy in New Zealand has garnered a momentous 100,000 signatures in the first 48 hours.
The party is calling on the Government to urgently priortise the banning of conversion therapy, a pseudoscientific practice that attempts to convert an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity through various psychological and physical interventions. The supposed treatment has been linked to severe mental health issues, including depression and suicidal ideation.
In October last year, the Labour Government made a pre-election pledge to outlaw the harmful practice, but have yet to propose any legislation. The Government has also remained tight-lipped on when the legislation will be introduced.
Roughly four months on from Labour's electioneering promise, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi told Stuff he was unable to provide a timeframe for when the ban could be expected.
Now the Green Party, active proponents of the cause, are calling on the House of Representatives to urgently prioritise the outlawing of conversion therapy.
"There is no place for conversion therapy in Aotearoa. We need to ban it now and end the harm it’s causing to our Rainbow whānau," the petition reads.
"We can't delay this any longer. Many parties have committed to banning it, yet the Labour Party has indicated it is not urgent, with no plans to introduce legislation immediately.
"Aotearoa should be a place where people of all genders, sexualities, and sex characteristics are accepted. But right now, Rainbow people are being hurt and traumatised through conversion therapy, purely for being true to themselves."
At the time of writing, the Green Party's petition has amassed close to 111,000 signatures - almost 89 percent of its target, which has been set at 125,000.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the party celebrated the petition's significant milestone, acknowledging the "amazing" achievement of garnering 100,000 signatures in just two days.
"Amazing support to let people be who they are," co-leader Marama Davidson also tweeted, while fellow co-leader James Shaw encouraged his followers to "help make change happen".
Earlier this month, the Greens' Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick lashed out at Opposition leader Judith Collins after she said the National Party had "no position" on prohibiting conversion therapy despite publicly criticising the practice last year.
However, Collins backtracked last week and declared the Opposition was committed to banning conversion therapy, a decision she came to after researching the practice and consulting "progressive" Young Nationals.