Originally broadcast August 21, 2015
Just a few days before the state constitution would have forced its passage had he not taken action, today Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the “Youth Mental Health Protection Act” outlawing so-called “Reparative” or “Conversion Therapy” for LGBT youth in our state.
Illinois now joins New Jersey, Oregon and California in banning the quack religious right “therapy” which aims to turn LGBT youth straight.
Conversion or “reparative” therapy begins with the premise that homosexuality is an illness, a pathology in need of a “cure.” Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have condemned the quackery behind such phony cures.
The Psychiatric Association, for example, says that “Ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation.” The Psychological Association commented that reparative therapy was “certainly discredited.” In 2001 the Surgeon General stated that “there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”
For these reasons GLN has pursued the purveyors of this practice for 15 years, protesting for example, Moody Bible Institute professors, Wheaton College events, church seminars, and fundraisers for the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality” and the “Illinois Family Institute.”
The Gay Liberation Network is proud to have taken the lead in working for passage of the legislation in Illinois, with longtime GLN organizers Bob Schwartz and Brent Holman-Gomez first proposing the legislation to Representatives Kelly Cassidy and Greg Harris in January 2014.
“The ban on reparative therapy of minors in Illinois is a great advance in the rights of youth, and for society as a whole,” said Holman-Gomez. “Legally banning the ‘ex-gay’, identity/orientation conversion on kids prevents harm from this therapy that medicine and psychiatry professionals have already discredited… Until now, parents hearing of this quackery have submitted their children to it without knowing that experts have found the practice to cause long-term injury to the child.
“Hopefully the fact they will now have to cross state lines, as well as media coverage of the law, will eliminate this abuse of our youngsters who have found the strength to come out. Society’s shameful acceptance of parents disowning their LGBT children, will at least be diminished by banning this practice to deny us our identities.”
According to today’s new law, it
“Provides that no mental health provider shall engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18. Provides that a mental health provider shall not refer a client or patient to any individual for the purpose of sexual orientation change efforts. Further provides that any sexual orientation change effort attempted on a person under the age of 18 or any referral made by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall be subject to discipline by the licensing entity or disciplinary review board with competent jurisdiction.”
Under Section 9 (b) of the Illinois State Constitution, Governor Rauner had 60 calendar days after having had the bill “presented” to him in which to either sign or veto the bill, or it automatically would have become law. That deadline would have fallen next Tuesday.