Illinois bans discredited ‘gay-conversion’ therapy

In this Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 photo, Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate in Springfield Ill. As he runs for governor, Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner can't shake questions about his daughter's admission to an elite Chicago public school where he made a hefty donation. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Staff Report

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB0217 Thursday, the “Youth Mental Health Protection Act,” barring licensed therapists from attempting controversial and discredited “gay-conversion” therapy.

Illinois is now the fifth state the ban the practice, following Oregon, Washington, California and New Jersey.

The state’s bill took lessons from a New Jersey jury’s finding that gay-conversion therapy is a form of consumer fraud. Any therapist claiming that homosexuality is “a mental disease, disorder, or illness” in advertisements could face sanction under the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, leading to fines and potential civil actions.

Also, any licensed therapist caught under the new measure would face a disciplinary hearing under their licensing body and possible rescinding of their license altogether.

Thus far, the Supreme Court has refused to hear two appeals to review laws from other states, and every appeals court has upheld the laws saying they do not violate any therapist’s First Amendment protections.

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