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Bill that would ban conversion therapy for gay youth advances in Illinois House

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A bill that would prohibit conversion therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay youth is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.

Illinois state capitol building in Springfield.

Illinois state capitol building in Springfield.

The measure (HB 5569) sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy prohibits mental health providers from providing the therapy to anyone who is under age 18.

The Illinois House Human Services committee passed the measure Wednesday by a 9-6 vote.

Gay and lesbian advocacy group Equality Illinois is applauding the bill. The group says in a statement that Illinois should be a leader in protecting youth from “false and potentially dangerous treatment.”

But the conservative Illinois Family Institute says the legislation would prevent youths from getting counseling for “unwanted feelings.”

California and New Jersey have similar bans in place but legal challenges followed shortly after the bills were signed into law.

California’s ban was upheld at the federal level, and by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but has since been put on hold pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court

Another federal judge has upheld the New Jersey law.

Similar legislation has advanced in Washington state, but was killed in Virginia.

Bill are also pending in Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

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