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Child Welfare Advocates Applaud Governor's Directive On Conversion Therapy

LGBTQ groups and child welfare advocates are celebrating Governor Herbert’s directive to regulate the dangerous practice of conversion therapy. Last week, Herbert ordered the state licensing board for psychologists to develop regulations around the so-called therapy. 

The practice, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, has been discredited by research from most major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

“I really give Governor Herbert a lot of credit," said Shannon Minter, an attorney for the Born Perfect campaign, an anti-conversion therapy initiative of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, "because this isn’t a political issue, it’s not a partisan issue, it really is a scientific issue.” 

Minter said the science is clear on how traumatic and harmful this false form of therapy can be. 

“There’s actually now research that shows that a young person who is subjected to conversion therapy in their adolescence is nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide,” he said.

Minter said conversion therapy used to be incredibly popular across Utah, but credited the LDS Church for recently announcing it opposes the practice. 

“The church deserves so much credit for this," he said. "They recognized that the science just doesn’t support it and that it’s actually damaging. The church has now officially renounced conversion therapy. It is, in their words, an abusive practice.”

Minter said the governor’s directive is the latest example of why Utahns should be proud of their state’s record on LGBTQ rights.

“I think it’s really been a model for other states about how the LGBTQ community can build bridges to conservative, religious communities and work together to find common ground,” Minter said. 

Herbert has ordered the state licensing board to release its recommendations by no later than September 16thof this year.