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LGBTQ Activists And LDS Church Reach Compromise On Conversion Therapy Ban

Photo of Governor Gary Herbert
File / KUER
Gov. Gary Herbert announced in a press release Tuesday evening that LGBTQ+ groups and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have agreed on a proposed rule to ban conversion therapy for minors.

Updated 12:21 p.m. MST, 11/27/19

LGBTQ+ activists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have come together on a proposal to ban conversion therapy for minors. 

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Tuesday evening that the two groups have agreed on a proposed rule to outlaw the widely-discredited practice of attempting to change the gender identity or sexual orientation of young people. 

“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. 

The rule is modeled after a bill that failed to pass during this year’s legislative session after it was gutted by conservative lawmakers on a House committee. 

“We are pleased that the new rule will mirror the legislation that was drafted and introduced earlier this year,” Equality Utah executive director Troy Williams said . “We have no doubt the adoption of this rule will send a life-saving message to LGBTQ+ youth across our state.” 

The LDS Church said it opposes conversion therapy, but took issue with some of the language in earlier versions of the proposed rule that it said could infringe on religious freedom.

Marty Stephens, director of government relations, said the Church is “grateful for the clarifications the new rule provides, and we support its adoption.”

A 30-day public comment period will start Dec. 15, and the rule could go into effect as early as Jan. 22.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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