Gay conversion therapy ban clears Illinois Senate committee

Illinois state capitol in Springfield.

Illinois state capitol in Springfield.

Illinois state capitol in Springfield.

Illinois state capitol in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate is advancing a measure to ban therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth.

The measure cleared committee Wednesday evening and now heads to the full chamber. It had passed the House last week.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy sponsors the bill which gay and lesbian advocates support. The Chicago Democrat says conversion therapy can increase the risk of suicide and “mental anguish” in teenagers struggling with their sexuality.

The initiative would prevent mental health providers from using the treatment on anyone under the age of 18.

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Just last year, the House defeated a similar Cassidy plan 44-51 — with 22 members not voting.

California, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have enacted bans on conversion therapy, and the U.S. Supreme Court has turned away challenges to both the California and New Jersey laws.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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