The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, Utah's predominant religion, announced Wednesday
that it will not oppose a Utah bill that bans therapies that attempt to
alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
The bill, introduced Thursday by two
Republicans, Representative Craig Hall of West Valley City and
Senator Dan McCay of Riverton, includes an exemption for clergy.
Marty Stephens, the LDS Church's
director of government relations, told ABC4 News that the church is
opposed to such therapies.
“We have repeatedly stated the church
denounces any conversion or reparative therapy that subjects
individuals to abusive practices, not only in Utah but around the
"We appreciate the willingness of
the sponsors to work with us to make sure that counseling that is in
alignment with the church's standards such as abstinence before
marriage does not come under the definition of conversion therapy.”
"The church does not oppose this
legislation in its current form," Stephens added. "We hope
that those who experience same-sex attraction find compassion and
understanding from family members, professional counselors, and
Troy Williams, executive director of
Equality Utah, called the bill's introduction “historic.”
“We're introducing legislation
Thursday to protect youth from the harmful practice of conversion
therapy, and we're grateful that The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints recognizes the harms of conversion therapy and has
denounced the practice,” Williams said.
The LDS Church is opposed to sex
outside of marriage and same-sex marriage. Members who experience
same-sex attraction are expected to remain celibate.