A coalition of advocacy organizations has joined forces to urge state officials to pass a bill banning so-called "conversion therapy" for LGBT youth. On March 6, the coalition launched an online petition so Illinoisans can let legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner know that they back the legislation.
The petition backs the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act introduced as House Bill 217 by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Senate Bill 111 by state Sen. Daniel Biss.
Coalition members include Equality Illinois, Youth Service Project, Prairie Pride Coalition, Center on Halsted, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Illinois Coalition for Adolescent Health, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and PFLAG National, according to a March 6 press release from Equality Illinois.
"This measure serves to protect the health of LGBT youth in Illinois from harmful and ineffective sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts ( also referred to as conversion therapy ) by prohibiting licensed mental health providers from engaging in these efforts," said the statement. "The law would not not apply to religious leaders and would not impact the ability of clergy to practice their religion.
"Every major medical and mental health association agrees that conversion therapy is ineffective and dangerous. Young people who face rejection because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression are more likely to have high levels of depression, more likely to engage in substance abuse, and more likely to attempt suicide."
Equality Illinois officials publicly pledged to make the bill's passage a priority for 2015, and, according to the statement, has a number of actions planned to rally support for it.
The petition can be found at http://tinyurl.com/conversion-therapy-ban.