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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers voted down a bill banning so-called conversion therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay young people.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the measure sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. Kelly Cassidy was defeated Thursday in the Illinois House on a 44-51 vote. Twenty-two members didn't vote.

The measure would have prohibited mental health providers from providing the therapy to anyone under age 18.

The measure had been backed by gay and lesbian advocates, who argued the bill could have made Illinois a leader in protecting youth from "false and potentially dangerous treatment."

But the conservative Illinois Family Institute opposed the bill, saying previously that it would prevent youths from getting counseling for "unwanted feelings."

California and New Jersey have similar bans.

Information from: Chicago Sun-Times

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