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Utah announces ban on counseling minors with unwanted same-sex attractions

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November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Utah will soon prohibit minors from receiving counseling for unwanted homosexual attraction, thanks to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s implementation of regulatory language that failed to make it through the House as legislation.

Herbert announced Tuesday evening that he is directing the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing and the Utah Department of Commerce to propose a rule based on language from HB 0399, KUTV reported. That bill defined as “unprofessional conduct” any treatment that “claims that therapy will result in a complete and permanent reversal in the patient or client's sexual orientation” or “asserts that a complete and permanent change in the patient or client's sexual orientation.”

The rule “will apply to all licensed therapists practicing in Utah," Herbert declared. “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.”

The move unsurprisingly has the support of pro-LGBT groups such as Equality Utah, but the governor’s press release also touts the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which had opposed the legislative version of the ban as recently as October. Church lobbyist Marty Stephens is quoted in the press release as stating the church is grateful for unspecified “clarifications” in the latest rule.

Much of the debate over versions of HB 0399 hinged on the wording of previous versions. "We kept hearing from therapists and from attorneys in the state saying, 'We're very concerned about this because the language is so broad we're not sure what you're trying to prohibit,'" Republican state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee said in March.

Despite common left-wing insistence that so-called “conversion” therapy is junk science, there are studies and former homosexuals who attest to reparative therapy’s success in improving their lives, and say they want others currently struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to have access to the same help overcoming it.

Regardless, the Utah rule will be published on December 15 with a 30-day public comment period, and could go into effect as early as January 22, 2020.

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