News (USA)

Bill to ban conversion therapy on gay youth fails in Ill. state House

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A bill that would prohibit conversion therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay youth failed Thursday in the Illinois state House.

Illinois state capitol in Springfield.
Illinois state capitol in Springfield. Meagan Davis

The measure, proposed by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, lost on a 44-51 roll call despite her plea to colleagues to stop LGBT youth from being “horribly and humiliatingly abused,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

The bill (HB 5569) would have bared mental health providers from providing the controversial “conversion” therapy to anyone who is under age 18. The practice, also referred to as “reparative therapy,” would have been considered “unprofessional conduct” under the bill, and those who perform it could have their state licenses sanctioned.

The Sun-Times reported that 22 House members didn’t vote on the measure, either because they chose not to or decided to begin their two-week break early Thursday. Lacking a required 47 votes, Cassidy was unable to keep the bill alive.

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California and New Jersey have similar bans on reparative therapy, 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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