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Utah’s bill banning conversion therapy dies without passing

Utah’s bill banning conversion therapy dies without passing

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There have been numerous developments on conversion therapy legislation in the United States. A bill banning the practice died in Utah’s legislature, while politicians in Georgia introduced their own bill banning it.

The bill in Utah failed to progress forward weeks after it was first introduced, according to the SF Chronicle.

Legislators and LGBTI activists introduced a bill banning conversion therapy on minors at the end of February. Organization Equality Utah first drafted the bill last year.

The bill had a dual purpose — both to ban conversion therapy, as well as decrease suicide rates, of which Utah has the fifth-highest in the nation.

Most crucially, the Mormon Chuch said they would support the legislation.

Republicans, including Gov. Gary Herbert, cut the bill’s path forward short when they proposed numerous changes to it. One of the changes included allowing therapist to talk to minors about changing sexual orientation. However, they had to swear not to attempt to reverse it.

These changes brought Democrats and Republicans to an impasse over the bill, effectively ensuring it had no way to pass.

In response to this development, Herbert wrote a letter saying he wants to reduce suicide rates but also ‘protect the rights of parents in counseling with their children in these sensitive matters’.

Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams plans to try the bill again next year.

He also had no kind words for Herbert, commenting: ‘Governor Herbert turned his back on LGBT youth, turned his back on leading experts and sided with conversion therapists.’

Georgia is now working on legislation

Utah would have become the 16th state to ban conversion therapy on minors, following 15 other states and the District of Columbia.

That honor, however, may go to Georgia instead.

Introduced by six Democrats, the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (HB580) seeks to protect minors from the harmful practices of conversion therapy. It applies to both sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the bill, it prohibits anyone ‘authorized to provide counseling under this chapter shall not engage in conversion therapy with a person under 18 years of age’.

If they do engage in conversion therapy, it will be ‘considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the practitioner to discipline by the appropriate licensing authority’.

See also

1 in 4 preteen suicides are made up of LGBTI youth

Poland makes moves to ban gay conversion therapy

Conversion therapy leads to high rate of suicidal thoughts among survivors