Banning “gay conversion therapy” and fighting budget cuts for human services are this year’s goals for Illinois gay rights groups. Advocates for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community are hoping for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s support on both fronts. State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) is sponsoring the conversion therapy ban legislation for those under 18, which she says is inspired by her own coming out story. Cassidy says her mother first asked her to see a priest, but later accepted her sexuality.
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“It’s because we were encouraged to find our way to a healthy relationship,” Cassidy said, “and that’s what this bill is about. This bill is about protecting families from quackery and pseudoscience. This is about preventing fraudulent, horrific, and abusive behavior that preys off fear and confusion.” Cassidy says gay rights groups have discussed the bill with Rauner, and she points out one of Rauner’s political allies, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supported similar legislation in his state.