Utah’s Republican Governor Proposes Rule Banning Conversion Therapy

An aide to the governor called the deal coming together "a Thanksgiving miracle."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert proposed a rule on Tuesday to ban conversion therapy for minors, calling it a “harmful practice,” and noting that the plan was backed by “a wide variety of public leaders, organizations, and policy groups.”

“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 in a statement. “I’m grateful to the many stakeholders who came to the table in good faith, with never-ending patience.”

“We are profoundly grateful to Governor Herbert and the Psychologist Licensing Board for the thoughtful and meticulous manner in which they have worked to protect LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy,” added Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah. “We have no doubt the adoption of this rule will send a life-saving message to LGBTQ+ youth across our state.”

The rule takes language from H.B. 399, a bill presented by Rep. Craig Hall that failed to pass in the state legislature despite support for it coming not only from LGBTQ advocates but also The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. An aide to the governor called the deal coming together on Tuesday “a Thanksgiving miracle,” Fox13 reports.

It will now face another round of public comment before taking effect in January.

“It is vital that our leaders support LGBTQ youth. We are grateful to Governor Herbert for his leadership and for making sure all youth know they are born perfect. It is lifesaving,” said
conversion therapy survivor and NCLR Born Perfect Strategist Mathew Shurka.

There are currently 18 states and the District of Columbia that ban the practice of trying to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity on minors.

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