SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House of Representatives has rejected a bill would have banned ‘sexual orientation change efforts’ for homosexual youth.
HB 5569 was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), a lesbian lawmaker who also pushed for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the state last year. Cassidy’s bill, known as the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, asserts that there is nothing wrong with desiring to have sex with the same gender and bars mental health professionals from providing reparative or conversion therapy to youth under 18.
“Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming,” the legislation states. “Illinois has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”
It then mandates that “[a]ny sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a person under the age of by a mental health provider or any referral made by a mental health provider to a third party practicing sexual orientation change efforts shall be considered unprofessional conduct.”
While the Act prohibits mental health professionals from helping youth fight homosexual temptation, it specifically states that it “does not include counseling or mental health services that provide acceptance, support and understanding of a person without seeking to change sexual orientation.”
“The experts have weighed in. This is codifying the positions of every major mental health profession’s organization,” Cassidy declared prior to the vote, according to CBS Chicago. “This gives the Department of Professional Regulation the tools they need to protect the victims that I have heard from who have been horribly, horribly humiliated and abused.”
But Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) opposed the bill, stating that legislators have no business regulating mental health practices.
“This is stuff that we should not be legislating on at all. We have no purview in this department. We have no expertise in this department,” she stated. “It’s absolutely something that should not ever be legislated on. Let people decide for themselves what they need to have for themselves.”
With 22 members not voting, the House ultimately voted 51-44 on Thursday to strike down Cassidy’s Youth Mental Health Protection Act.
As previously reported, California and New Jersey have implemented similar restrictions against providing help to homosexual youth. However, both states are also facing lawsuits from parents who feel that their children are unfairly being kept from receiving the help that they desire.
“This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky,” Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver wrote in a news release about the New Jersey law last year. “Counselors would only be allowed to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal. This is absurd and dangerous. This law would inflict serious damage to children, parents, and counselors.”
Virginia lawmakers likewise deliberated a ban earlier this year, but it was ultimately struck down.