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At Monthly Press Conference, Governor Herbert Talks European Trade Mission And Conversion Therapy

Governor Herbert addresses the media at his monthly press conference. File photo from February.
Governor Herbert addresses the media at his monthly press conference. File photo from February.

“Bon giorno!” That’s how Governor Herbert, fresh off a trade mission to Europe, greeted the press corps at his monthly press conference on Thursday. Executives from 23 Utah companies traveled with the Governor, who said that the state is starting to gain real recognition on the world stage.
“Meeting with the leaders of so many different companies there, clearly Utah is on their radar screen as a place they would like to be at or expand into," Herbert said. "Opportunities for us to manufacture, whether it be aerospace, life sciences, agribusiness, which were all represented on this trade mission, we will create over the next few years 4-8,000 new jobs here in the state of Utah. Career opportunities for people. These trade missions are important on many different levels.”

The governor also waded into the controversy surrounding conversion therapy. On Tuesday, the Salt Lake County Council unanimously passed a resolution asking the state legislature to ban the practice. LGBT advocates and opponents to the practice say it’s a form of child abuse. 

“I don’t know that everything that’s done is abusive. We have differences of opinion," Herbert said. "We bump up against parental rights. What is my right to raise my children and give them the therapy I think they need versus what the science tells us? I don’t know. I hope they reconcile.”

Herbert said he’s directing the state licensing board for psychologists to develop ethics rules and regulations regarding conversion therapy. 

“I want the state to ethically regulate psychological interventions for minor children regarding their sexual orientation and gender identity," Herbert said. "I’d like those proposed rules to be available for public comment no later than September 16th of 2019.” 

The governor’s next monthly press conference is scheduled for August, following a July break.