An Illinois bill banning gay conversion therapy was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose chief sponsor was State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), therefore ending a practice that has harmed many gay people, especially young people, as they were persuaded that this was a viable route to become hetereosexual, in the face of societal prejudice, and family rejection; it is also frequently associated with right wing religious groups.
The Illinois bill provides not only the ban, for those under 18 years of age, but also disciplinary action for those that perform it, and also consumer fraud action, as relief for those affected by a practice that has been deemed harmful by both the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, among other professional organizations.
Other states with legislative bans on conversion therapy are California, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia.
Cassidy said the “signing of the Youth Mental Health Protection Act is an important victory in the centuries-old fight for equality,” In her a statement she noted, “Throughout the legislative process, we heard from survivors of this harmful practice, young people who had the courage to speak up and the resolve to ensure that no child has to endure what they did ever again. I am thankful that the governor listened to their stories with compassion and understood this part of our struggle. By signing this bill, he is putting our children first and making the future a better, more supportive place for all.”
She also thanked those supporters who “who helped us move this initiative forward. Our version of this legislation is the most comprehensive bill in the nation, barring health providers from engaging in this practice and affording survivors access to consumer fraud action against the perpetrators of this abuse.”
Also joining in thanks and appreciation for these legislative efforts was Rep. Sara Feigenholtz who said in her statement, “I am proud to stand with Rep. Cassidy as a chief co-sponsor on this bipartisan legislation, which prevents mental health providers from partaking in the appalling and destructive practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy has increased self-hatred, hostility, feelings of betrayal, loss of friends, and declines in emotional intimacy in far too many children and young adults.”
There was no immediate statement from Rauner’s office, reported the Chicago Tribune.