FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO — Truth Wins Out today applauded lawmakers in both houses of the Illinois legislature for introducing bills to ban harmful, discredited “ex-gay” therapy for minors. According to the Windy City Times, state Representative Kelly Cassidy introduced HB5569, which would disallow practitioners from administering “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy to those under eighteen years of age, while companion Senate bill SB3575 was introduced by state Senator William Delgado. Rep. Cassidy reports that Illinois governor Pat Quinn has been supportive of the bills. If passed, Illinois would follow in the footsteps of California and New Jersey in protecting innocent minors from these practices, which are not endorsed by any major medical or mental health association.
“The science is in on so-called reparative therapy. It doesn’t work, and it hurts people,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “We applaud these Illinois lawmakers for standing up for science and quality mental health care by working to eliminate these harmful practices for the good of the citizens they were elected to represent, and especially for the kids of Illinois.”
Expressing similar sentiments, Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, said that this legislation ”would ensure that the most vulnerable individuals, those already struggling in the face of homophobia and transphobia, are not targeted and subjected to a practice that medical practitioners deem harmful and inappropriate.”
Truth Wins Out recently launched a comprehensive website, LGBTScience.org, where all the foremost scientists studying sexual orientation speak plainly about the current scientific consensus on sexuality. It is an unbiased resource for all interested in studying the scientific truth about sexual orientation. All major medical and mental health associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, have stated that reparative therapy is ineffective at best, and can be extremely harmful to clients.
Proponents of “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy frequently couch the issue as a matter of religious freedom, but as the NALT Christians Project shows, one need not renounce religious faith in order to embrace science and best therapeutic practices for LGBT clients in crisis. Truth Wins Out encourages Illinois legislators not to be swayed by those who will falsely claim that their religious freedom is somehow threatened by passing a bill that ensures quality mental health care for Illinoisans.
As bills like this have worked through state legislatures, purveyors of “ex-gay” quackery have shown up to defend their right to hurt kids with their false teachings and beliefs, and Illinois will be no different. During New Jersey’s debate, Christopher Doyle of the International Healing Foundation appeared as an advocate for allegedly former homosexuals, waving around a picture of his family has proof that reparative therapy works. Doyle has admitted that he tried to molest little girls in his mother’s daycare when he was ten, a disturbing fact considering IHF’s focus on youth and Doyle’s status as an ill-credentialed counselor. In the same hearing, “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan attempted to paint those working to protect LGBT kids as abusers, dubbing it the “Jerry Sandusky Victimization Act.” However, when Quinlan is around like-minded people, he is more inclined to practice verbal gay-bashing of his own, telling an anti-gay conference in 2010 that he was never a “limp-wristed, flaming faggot,” a statement revelatory of his true feelings about LGBT people. New Jersey legislators saw the testimonies of these man as the nonsense they were, and passed the bill. Truth Wins Out urges Illinois lawmakers to follow their lead.
“‘Ex-gay’ charlatans will come to the Illinois legislature with junk science and promises of love and healing for LGBT kids, but their records show that their motivations are beyond insincere,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “Please, lawmakers, hear us: there’s no scientific debate, this isn’t about religious freedom, and these men are the exact sort of people that Illinois lawmakers should be working day and night to protect children from.”
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.