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Tuesday letters: Free speech doesn’t protect bogus ‘therapy’

In this April 12, 2016 photo, Illinois Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, speaks at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. A group of pastors are suing Illinois over a law barring therapists from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation. Cassidy sponsored the bill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman File)

Five pastors are suing Illinois over its ban on “gay conversion therapy,” which is universally discredited by American medical, psychological, psychiatric and pediatric associations as a “cure” for homosexuality. These pastors claim the Illinois ban violates their first amendment rights of free speech and their free exercise of religion. Pastors have the right to condemn homosexuality and to refuse to marry same-sex couples. But who would have thought the rights to free speech and the “free exercise” of religion include the right to force discredited and harmful “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ minors?

Bob Barth, Edgewater

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Democracy in Court’s hands

It is no secret that Illinois government is broken. Career politicians draw legislative maps behind closed doors to benefit only themselves. In the 2014 election, there was no challenger in 60 percent of the legislative races because the system is rigged. The Independent Map Amendment would reform the rules and require a process that is transparent, impartial, and fair. Over half a million Illinois voters signed a petition to put the Independent Map Amendment on the November ballot.

Now the fate of the the amendment is back in the hands of the Illinois Supreme Court. The justices must decide if Illinois will be ruled by tyrants; or will the Land of Lincoln finally embrace a “government of the people.” It is imperative that the court allow the voters decide.

Robert Hennessy, Mokena

Amazing rainy day fund

The Illinois rainy day fund is running low? We have been in the middle of Noah’s flood for years, how is it that we have any money left at all?

Scot Sinclair, Third Lake

Rauner veto suppresses vote

I see that Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill last week that would have given voting privileges to anyone granted a driver’s license. The bill passed both the Illinois Senate and House with overwhelming bi-partisan support — an achievement that was deserving of banner headlines.

So why did he do it? The obvious answer is that he is a Republican and that’s what they do — suppress voter turnout, complain that there is simply too much corruption in the voting process and lament a system that is blatantly rigged.

It’s no coincidence (it’s more like a trend), that states with new laws requiring voter ID’s are all red or have Republican governors — Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Mississippi. And all of them had their legislation overturned by a higher court.

I’m always amazed that the home of the free and the brave makes voting so difficult. In other countries — far less free and democratic as the U.S. — voting is conducted over several days or on Saturdays. The citizens are given time off to vote and virtually everyone is eligible. And guess what, there turnout is as much as 90 percent or more. Isn’t it time we live up to our billing as the most democratic country in the world? And isn’t it time we all hold our politicians to a higher standard when it comes to making voting more easily accessible and fair?

Bob Ory, Elgin