CHICAGO, Ill. - Equality Illinois today condemned the lawsuit filed by a small handful of pastors against Illinois' law protecting LGBT youth from harmful conversion therapy. The Youth Mental Health Protection Act is based in scientific consensus against conversion therapy, according to the state's oldest and largest civil rights organization advocating for LGBT Illinoisans. The Illinois law, which was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Daniel Biss, was passed with bipartisan support and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

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“We condemn this attack on a reasonable law that protects the physical and mental health of LGBT youth in Illinois," said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. "The law protects patients from harmful, coercive, and fraudulent treatments that attempt to change the unchangeable. Faith leaders remain free to say what they want from the pulpit, regardless of how misguided it may be, and the law and the state and federal Constitutions protect that right. That was not changed by this law."


Professional mental health organizations recognize that conversion therapy can cause serious harm to young people, with the results including depression, substance abuse, and attempted suicide. Demonstrating the broad consensus against conversion therapy by mental health providers, the Act was supported by the Illinois Psychiatric Society, Illinois Psychological Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


"The lawsuit is simply an attempt to set back the clock on the growing national recognition of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, an attempt that has failed in other states where lawsuits were filed against similar laws. Courts have unanimously rejected legal challenges to these laws, recognizing that the state has a duty to regulate medical and mental health providers to protect patients from harmful and fraudulent treatments," Johnson said.


Other jurisdictions with similar laws or state regulations in place include California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, New York, the District of Columbia, Miami Beach, Cincinnati and Seattle.

 

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