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Devon Dewey,

Bill to ban gay conversion therapy for minors set to be unveiled Thursday

By Xoel Cardenas, | Posted - Feb. 20, 2019 at 9:49 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill aimed at banning gay conversion therapy for minors in Utah is expected to be brought forward Thursday.

Republican sponsor Rep. Craig Hall said in a statement that the legislation “will help bolster the mental health of LGBT young people amid an alarming spike in youth suicides in the state.”

Officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday they would not oppose the bill.

“We appreciated the willingness of the sponsors to work with us to make sure counseling in alignment with the church’s standards, such as abstinence before marriage, does not come under the definition of conversion therapy,” Marty Stephens, director of government relations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the Deseret News.

Adults would not be stopped from receiving conversion therapy, which some pursue to attempt to change their gender identity or sexual orientation, if the bill is passed by the Utah Legislature, according to the Deseret News. The bill would apply only to licensed therapists and clinicians. Life coaches, clergy and other independent individuals wouldn't be regulated.

The American Psychological Association opposes therapy seeking to change sexual orientation, and it has been banned in fifteen states and the District of Columbia.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Xoel Cardenas

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