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On Top Magazine: Illinois, Virginia Introduce Bills To Ban 'Ex-Gay' Therapy To Minors Print

BY:  CARLOS SANTOSCOY

Created:  Tuesday, January 20, 2015

 

Democratic lawmakers in Virginia and Illinois have proposed legislation that seeks to prohibit therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth.

In Illinois, out state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat from Chicago, introduced House Bill 217 on Friday. Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston is expected to introduce a companion version in the Senate shortly. Cassidy championed a similar effort that died on the Illinois House floor last year.

"It is tragic," Cassidy said in a statement, "that LGBT youth suffer at the hands of so-called experts whose therapies have been refuted by every legitimate medical and mental health organization. That is why my bill would label the therapy as 'unprofessional conduct' and subject the perpetrator to disciplinary action."

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov called such therapies "discredited."

Washington, DC recently became the third jurisdiction behind California and New Jersey to outlaw such therapies.

Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope and Senator Louise Lucas are backing similar legislation in Virginia.

"We know this is going on in Virginia," Hope, a Democrat, told the Washington Blade last month. "The role of government is whenever we know there is some danger that's inherent, the government ought to step in."

LGBT advocate the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) last year launched its #BornPerfect campaign, which aims to raise awareness about "the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity."

"Today, more than ever, it is clear that state legislatures need to step up to the plate to protect LGBT youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy," NCLR Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect campaign coordinator Samantha Ames said in a statement. "We commend Delegate Hope and Senator Lucas, as well all the local organizers who have worked tirelessly to get this bill introduced and ensure all Virginian children are able to grow up in communities and families where they are loved for exactly who they are."

Supporters of such therapies unsuccessfully sued to keep bans in New Jersey and California from taking effect.


 



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