The conservative state of Utah is now the 19th state to ban LGBTQ conversion therapy for minors.
As reported by the Associated Press, the ban finally pushed through after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, finally supported it after being assured that some exceptions would be made for clergy.
With the new rule, LGBTQ minors in Utah can no longer be subjected by therapists in the state to conversion therapy. Meanwhile, church leaders and members of the Mormon church who are therapists can provide their families and parishioners with spiritual counseling.
The rule was sponsored by Republican Utah Representative Craig Hall, who said it would outlaw dangerous practices while also protecting medical professionals.
With such a conservative state passing a ban, advocates believe it will embolden other groups who are pushing for similar bans in other right-leaning states. National Center for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter says it has “given people a lot of hope. The National Center for Lesbian Rights has been pushing for similar bans across the United States.
Utah now joins 18 other states that have banned the practice. The other states are New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Maine. States considering the ban include Virginia, Texas, and Kentucky.
The World Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, and the Australian Psychological Society all condemn conversion therapy. The practice claims that it can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. People who have undergone conversion therapy have said that it only made them more depressed and suicidal.
In 2018, the films “Boy Erased” and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” increased sign-ups to campaigns focused on banning conversion therapy.
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