Illinois becomes 4th state (plus DC) to ban ex-gay conversion therapy for minors

Yesterday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, signed into law a bill that makes it illegal to “treat” homosexuality in minors with ex-gay conversion therapy. From the Washington Blade:

The bill, introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) in the Illinois House, will bar licensed medical professionals from changing a minor’s sexual orientation and gender identity through conversion therapy — a practice discredited by major medical and psychological groups. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1.

Illinois is now the fourth state (not including DC, which should totally be a state), to ban ex-gay therapy for minors, following California, Oregon and New Jersey. Rauner becomes the second Republican governor to sign such a bill into law, following Chris Christie, a fact that wasn’t lost on the Religious Right in the wake of the bill’s passage:

A federal ban on ex-gay therapy — which has the support of President Obama — is currently idling in the House. Similar bills banning the practice are also making their way through several states.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, via Wikimedia Commons

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, via Wikimedia Commons

Given how abusive and widely-discredited the practice is, it’s likely we’ll see more state-level bans becoming law in the near future, particularly in states with Democratic legislatures. While Illinois and New Jersey passed such bans with Republican governors, the legislatures that produced majorities for those bills were controlled by Democrats. Similar efforts to pass bans on ex-gay conversion therapy in other presidential-year blue states with Republican governors, such as Michigan, have thus far been stalled by Republican representatives.

This makes it unlikely that a federal ban will go into effect in the near future. Republicans control the House, and almost certainly will until at least the next Census, if not longer. And those Republicans, who don’t individually bear the responsibility for vetoing a bill banning child abuse, can stall, block, demur, garble on about religious liberty and prevent these bills from becoming law where they have control.

In any case, this is great news for Illinois, and a feather in the cap of Rauner, who also signed a bill yesterday allowing individuals to specify their gender identity in legally-binding funeral and burial instructions. According to the Blade, “Such instructions may include — but aren’t limited to — appearance, chosen name, and preferred pronouns.”


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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11 Responses to “Illinois becomes 4th state (plus DC) to ban ex-gay conversion therapy for minors”

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  4. Jim Olson says:

    This made NO news here in Illinois. Rauner is in a deadlocked fight with the legislature about the budget…we have no state budget.

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  6. nicho says:

    I’ve been around for a long time. I came out in 1971. I know a lot of people — straight and gay. I have met an awful lot of happy, well-adjusted, productive former Christians. I have never met one happy, well-adjusted, productive “former gay.” I have met people who have tried the “Lord, make me straight” groups. They are some of the saddest people I know. I did know a couple of guys who were sent by their families to the “therapy” centers back in the ’60s. They didn’t turn straight. And both of them ended up committing suicide.

  7. BeccaM says:

    bar licensed medical professionals from changing a minor’s sexual orientation and gender identity through conversion therapy

    That line from the Blade really ought to read “attempting to change”, not “changing.” Their implication is it is possible, when every legitimate study conducted on so-called ‘raparative therapy’ has concluded it (1) does not change sexual orientation or gender identity at all and (2) it damages the psychological health of those undergoing it, especially minors.

    The Trib gets it right.

    And Bill’s right: The victims of this brain-washing quackery should be compensated for the torture they’ve undergone, often at the behest of their bigoted parents. A generation or two ago, these same kids would’ve found themselves involuntarily committed to mental institutions and forced to undergo electroshock torture; now it’s these quacks who think that aversion conditioning and Jesus can make a gay kid straight or a transgender kid not be. It’s still mental and often physical torture, only with even less state licensing oversight in most cases.

    It figures that BamBam LaBarbera has confused these practices with ‘liberty’. Yeah, the liberty of parents and other adults to treat children like disposable property.

  8. 2karmanot says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

  9. Bill_Perdue says:

    True, but we should still raise the question to expose the prosecutors, judges and politicians who enable them.

  10. nicho says:

    They won’t be prosecuted because they will hide behind their “religious” beliefs. They will portray themselves as the “victims.”

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    Although many of these torture camps are reported to be closing this is still a big breakthrough. The people who run or ran these snake pits and those who worked for them should be prosecuted for child abuse and robustly investigated for sexual abuse. All the assets of these torture chambers should be confiscated without compensation to aid in the recovery of their victims.

    The children sent to these camps should be offered emancipation and full financial compensation paid by court order by their degenerate and abusive parents to pay for their upbringing in supportive gay homes and their educational needs through grad school or technical school.

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