Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday approved legislation that will prohibit doctors and therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation.
The legislation, known as the “Youth Mental Health Protection Act,” makes it illegal for any “mental health provider” to engage in “sexual orientation change efforts” with a person under the age of 18. Providers will also be prohibited from referring a patient to anyone else for purpose of attempting to change their sexual orientation.
Additionally, the law prohibits individuals from advertising conversion therapy services in a manner that represents homosexuality as a “mental disease, disorder or illness.”
The bill passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly in May of this year, but the governor did not sign it until Thursday.
Illinois State Senator Daniel Bliss said in a statement published Friday that conversion therapies for homosexuality could be extremely harmful to young adults.
“They’re out of date and can be deeply destructive to youth,” said Bliss. “Outlawing these practices is a small step in our pursuit for LGBT rights, but it’s an extremely important step in protecting young people in Illinois.”
The new law makes Illinois the fourth state in the United States to outlaw conversion therapy for minors. In April, the Obama administration called for a nationwide ban on conversion therapy for gay and transgender youth.
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