What If Utah Bans “Conversion Therapy”?


After Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota recently banned “conversion therapies”, Utah could prohibit it too.

Utah’s Republican and Mormon Governor Gary Herbert has himself introduced a law to ban “conversion therapies”. The idea is to protect LGBTQ people from this dangerous practice.

A similar bill proposed by Republican Representative Craig Hall was defeated by the Utah Assembly early last year. Consequently, in June 2019, Governor Herbert called on the state’s Psychologist Licensing Board to draft rules regulating “anti-gay cures”.

The new bill also contains comments made during the review of the first draft by the legislature.

“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,” Governor Herbert said in a statement. “I’m grateful to the many stakeholders who came to the table in good faith, with never-ending patience. I’m also grateful to the dedicated board members at DOPL for their work that enabled us to come together to craft this rule.”

This is a complete bill that would ban “conversion therapy” for minors and adults.

I was rather hopeful at first because the Governor introduced himself the bill and he’s a Republican, so it could win a couple of votes from the opposition. The details of the bill remained to be seen, but I thought it had a chance of being approved.

Unfortunately, even though the Mormon Church backed the first bill that was defeated in the legislature, this new bill did not receive the same support.

The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints argues that the rule prohibiting Utah psychologists from practicing “conversion therapy” with LBGTQ minors wouldn’t safeguard “religious beliefs” and doesn’t account for “important realities of gender identity in the development of children”.

So the question is whether this stand against the bill will affect the vote.

Officially published on December 15, 2019, the bill is open for comment until January 14, 2020. The law may enter into force as early as January 22, 2020, if approved.

It’s cool to see a governor, especially a Republican one, introduce a bill to ban “conversion therapies” in his state.

At the moment, sixteen states as well as the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico, and a growing number of municipalities, are banning “conversion therapies”.

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Monday, 02 October 2023