Utah bans LGBTQ 'conversion therapy' for children

Utah bans LGBTQ 'conversion therapy' for children
© Cameron Lancaster

Utah has become the 19th state to ban so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ children, one of the deepest red states to prohibit the practice, due in large part to support for the measure from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to NBC News.

The church, which includes the majority of the state legislature and about two-thirds of Utahns overall as members, backed the measure after it was satisfied it would contain exceptions for religious leaders, according to the network.

A ban on the discredited practice passing in such a conservative state has “really given people a lot of hope,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told NBC, citing similar ongoing efforts in states like Texas and Kentucky.

ADVERTISEMENT

State Rep. Craig Hall (R) said in a statement that the measure will “truly save lives” while protecting health care professionals, according to the network.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced last November that he had directed the state’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to file a rule with the same provisions after an earlier version of the ban failed to pass the state legislature over alterations made by social conservatives.

“I have learned much through this process. The stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heart rending, and I’m grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state,” Herbert said. “I’m grateful to the many stakeholders who came to the table in good faith, with never-ending patience.”