The Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, implemented a ban on conversion therapy on Tuesday, making Utah the nineteenth state to ban the practice.
Herbert first proposed the rule in November 2019, basing it off of HB 399. The law failed to pass last year after conservative members of the legislature amended the bill so much that even Representative Craig Hall, the bill’s sponsor, stopped supporting it. Utah is the first state to implement a ban on conversion therapy with a Republican governor and Republican control of both houses of the legislature. Critics expect push back on the new rule.
Herbert, in a press conference in June 2019, asked for guidance from the psychologist licensing board in forming the rule. He noted that the rule should be based on “the best available science.”
The ban does not apply to “clergy, religious counselors, parents or grandparents, so long as they’re not acting as psychologists.”
The Trevor Project commended Utah on protecting LGBTQ people from the practice. According to the organization, “five percent of LGBTQ youth reported being subjected to conversion therapy, and of those five percent, 42 percent reported a suicide attempt in the past year, more than twice the rate of their peers who did not report experiencing conversion therapy.”