Illinois House committee says no to gay conversion therapy

Illinois Capitol dome. Photo: Tony Merevick.

Illinois Capitol dome. Photo: Tony Merevick.

A committee in the Illinois House of Representatives approved the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act on Wednesday by a 9 to 6 vote. The legislation seeks to end a practice where therapists would attempt to cure homosexuality and homosexual tendencies.

Immediately after the House Human Services Committee passed the bill, advocacy groups began lobbying legislators to pass the law this spring.

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov argues that conversion therapy aimed at youth has been proven harmful and the leading mental health and medical professional groups stand against the practice.

“This bill would ensure that the most vulnerable individuals, those already struggling in the face of homophobia and transphobia, are not targeted and subjected to a practice that medical practitioners deem harmful and inappropriate,” Cherkasov said in a statement.

Brought to the House by Democratic 14th district state Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago, the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act would ban mental health providers from any treatments that aim to change the sexual orientation of persons under the age of 18.

Cherkasov continued, “Illinois has been a leader in fighting anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace and in public accommodations, and it should be a leader in protecting our youth from this false and potentially dangerous treatment.”

Gerald Farinas

About Gerald Farinas

An Edgewater Beach resident, Gerry is managing editor and interim editor-in-chief of Chicago Phoenix. He is concurrently an Evanston-based social services professional and media consultant. For more info: www.geraldfarinas.com.