Gay conversion therapy to become illegal for LGBT minors in Illinois

Illinois

“Illinois kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to fix who they are.”

The practice of gay ‘conversion’ therapy on minors is to stop

Bruce Rauner, the current Governor of Illinois has signed a bill banning the practice of gay conversion therapy on Thursday afternoon, making it the fifth jurisdiction after California, New Jersey, Washington D.C and Oregon.

“Illinois families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain,” Samantha Ames, staff attorney with the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement following the governor’s action on Thursday.

“Most importantly, Illinois kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to fix who they are.”

The American Psychological Association concluded that the attempt to change a persons sexual orientation through conversion therapy does not work. Many former patients of behavioural therapy have testified about the psychological damage it has caused.

President Obama has also called for an end to the practice, saying it has “devastating effects.”

John Paulk a former advocate for the ex-gay movement appeared on Newsweek’s infamous cover in 1998, arguing for the efficacy of conversion therapy. He has since divorced his wife of 20 years and lives as an openly gay man. Speaking on the subject of behavioural therapy Paulk said: “Going through conversion therapy is like when children are molested, and they live with that for their entire lives. They’re still being harmed, even through it happened years ago.”

He went on to add: “I am very much against any therapies that would attempt to coerce a child into a box for their sexuality.”

The Illinois law goes into effect on the 1st January 2016.

Words Joseph Roddis, @iamjoeroddis

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