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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah became the 19th state in the country to ban conversion therapy as a professional licensing rule took effect Wednesday.
Troy Williams, Equality Utah executive director, said Utah is “hands down the most conservative state to do so.”
The yearlong effort to end the practice for minors hit snags until a rule proposed by Gov. Gary Herbert gained the support of LGBTQ groups and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
LGBTQ organizations and the church worked toward a legislative solution a year ago, but the effort failed to gain enough support from lawmakers. Herbert then directed the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing in November to prohibit conversion therapy for minors. The new rule will use language from a bill that did not pass in the 2019 legislative session.
Williams thanked Herbert for allowing the issue not to become politicized and letting science prevail over politics.
“He kept his word to the LGBTQ community, and we thank him,” he said.
The church opposed an earlier rule — also crafted at the request of the governor after the legislation failed — on the grounds that it did not protect therapists who are parents, grandparents, or religious leaders from losing their license if they give spiritual, religiously based counsel.
Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, who carried the legislation, said the new rule both prohibits conversion therapy in the state for minors and protects the legitimate interests of therapists and patients and their families.