Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a
Republican, on Tuesday announced a plan to regulate therapies that
attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
Once the plan is implemented, Utah will
become the 18th state plus the District of Columbia to
prohibit such therapies. Similar laws have been adopted in Colorado,
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York,
Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Rico governor signs order banning “ex-gay” therapy.)
In June, after lawmakers failed to
approve similar legislation, Herbert announced that he had asked
state regulators to craft a rule to regulate such therapies. Last
month, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that it
objected to the rule. A large majority of Utahns – including nearly
90 percent of state lawmakers – are members of the LDS church.
The rule “fails to protect individual
religious beliefs and does not account for important realities of
gender identity in the development of children,” the church said at
the time in a statement.
LDS spokesperson Marty Stephens said
that the church supports Herbert's plan which now reportedly allows
therapists to provide spiritual counseling.
“We are opposed to conversion therapy
and our therapists do not practice it,” LDS spokesperson Marty
Stephens said. “However, we are grateful for the clarification the
new rule provides, and we support its adoption.”
The regulations could be in place by
January 22, 2020.