Utah Becomes Latest State To Ban Discredited LGBTQ 'Conversion Therapy'

NPR.org | 1/22/2020 | Staff
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Marchers raise a rainbow flag during the 2018 Pride parade in Salt Lake City. Late Tuesday, state regulators implemented a ban on "conversion therapy" aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ young people.

Utah has become the 19th — and most conservative — state in the U.S. to ban "conversion therapy" for minors. The widely discredited practice, aimed at changing a patient's sexual orientation or gender identity, is now formally barred in the state after the new rule took effect late Tuesday.

Spokesperson - Gov - Gary - Herbert - Regulators

A spokesperson for Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who directed licensing regulators to make the change, confirmed the move to NPR on Wednesday.

"We want to thank Governor Herbert and his administration for not allowing this issue to be politicized," Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said at a Wednesday news conference celebrating the news. "He saw how polarizing this was becoming, and he made the decision to allow science to prevail over politics. He kept his word to the LGBTQ community, and we are deeply grateful to him."

Exceptions - Ban - Counselors - Parents - Grandparents

There are some key exceptions: The ban doesn't apply to clergy, religious counselors, parents or grandparents, so long as they're not acting as psychologists.

Still, the rule exists — a simple fact that, for a long time, was far from ensured.

Attempt - Ban - State - Legislature - Year

An attempt to get a ban passed in the state legislature collapsed last year, after conservative lawmakers amended the bill so extensively that by the time it received committee approval, even its sponsor, Rep. Craig Hall, had effectively disowned it. The measure stalled in the state House of Representatives.

So Herbert requested that state regulators review and propose new rules concerning the practice.

Concerns - Abuse - Psychologist - Herbert - News

"I certainly have concerns about some of the abuse that I've heard talked about, but I'm not a psychologist," Herbert said during a news conference last June, when...
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