cloudyn.png
Saturday December 14th, 2019 5:18AM

Utah set to become 19th US state to ban ‘conversion therapy’

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is on its way to becoming the 19th state to ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy in January after state officials formed a proposal that has the support of the influential Church of a Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced Tuesday night that church leaders back a regulatory rule his office helped craft after legislative efforts for a ban on the therapy failed earlier this year.

The faith known widely as the Mormon church opposed a previous version of the rule because it wanted assurances that church leaders and members who are therapists would be allowed to provide spiritual counseling for parishioners or families — which were included in the latest conversion therapy ban plan.

The faith opposes gay marriage and teaches that intimidate same-sex relationships are a sin. The religion has stuck to that belief while urging members to be kind and compassionate to LGBTQ people.

Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change peoples’ sexual orientation or gender identity.

The rule would ban Utah therapists from subjecting LGBTQ minors to the practice that the American Psychological Association has said is not based in science and is harmful to mental health. The Utah rule proposal is set to go to a 30-day public comment period beginning Dec. 15 and take effect as soon as Jan. 22, Herbert said.

The success in getting the church’s crucial support for the regulatory rule generated praise from LGBTQ advocates and conversion therapy survivors who had expressed frustration with the yearslong battle in Utah to ban conversion therapy. The rule uses language from a state legislative proposal that failed this year despite church leaders saying they would not oppose it.

“It means youth will be getting adequate services that will help them rather than harm them,” said Nathan Dalley, 20, who had conversion therapy when he was 16. “This is a change that’s been needed for so long. It’s too late, but I’m happy it is here.”

Dalley grew up as a member of the Latter-day Saint faith and said he was told during his therapy to snap a rubber band on his wrist every time he felt attracted to men. His therapist also scrutinized his posture, his walk, his gestures and interests. Dalley said the experience deepened his feelings of depression and culminated in a suicide attempt several months after the therapy.

Church government affairs director Marty Stephens reiterated in the governor’s news release that the faith denounces conversion therapy and wants a ban. He said in an interview with The Associated Press last month that the faith doesn't ascribe to "pray the gay away" thinking but that prayer and religious teachings can be helpful to people trying to navigate life's challenges.

The religion holds tremendous influence in Utah, where the majority of state lawmakers and nearly two-thirds of the state’s 3.1 million residents are members of the faith. Herbert is a member and so are all six members of the state’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney.

The church had said in an Oct. 15 letter to state regulators that it would support a "carefully tailored" rule to ban "abusive" practices like conversion therapy but contended an earlier regulatory proposal banning the practice defined sexual orientation and efforts to change sexual orientation so broadly that it "would imperil legitimate and helpful therapies to the detriment of minor clients."

For example, the church had claimed the bill would have prohibited therapists from discussing strategies for avoiding same-sex intimacy when young people seek help to adhere to the faith's teachings.

The revised rule stipulates that the ban doesn’t apply to clergy members or religious counselors acting in a religious capacity, or to a parents or grandparents who happen to be a mental health therapist if they are talking to children or grandchildren.

Justin Utley, 42, who attempted suicide more than a decade ago after going through conversion therapy, said he’s concerned about the exceptions granted to the church even but said the new rule is a positive step.

“Progress is progress in this state. You kind of have to make some compromises,” Utley said. “My concern, though, is clergy who are licensed professionals having this ability to justify conversion therapy by claiming that they’ve turned off the switch and now are acting as a clergy member instead of a licensed professional. That’s a very dangerous precedent.”

During a public hearing about the rule in September, Utley and other supporters of a conversion therapy ban said enduring the therapy led to shame, depression and suicide attempts.

Opponents argued that the rule would prevent parents from getting help for children with "unwanted" gay feelings or even from talking about sexuality with their kids.

Herbert said “the stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heart rending.”

He added: “I’m grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
5 dead, 3 hurt in ‘devastating’ Minneapolis high-rise fire
Five people have died after a fire broke out on the 14th floor of a public housing high-rise in a heavily immigrant neighborhood of Minneapolis
5:16PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Utah set to become 19th US state to ban ‘conversion therapy’
Utah set to become 19th state banning ‘conversion therapy’ used to try to change peoples’ sexual orientation or gender identity
5:09PM ( 17 minutes ago )
No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors
Massachusetts has become the first state with a permanent ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes
5:08PM ( 18 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Utah banning ‘conversion therapy’ with Mormon church backing
Backed by Mormon church, Utah set to become 19th state banning ‘conversion therapy’ used to try to change peoples’ sexual orientation or gender identity
5:25PM ( 1 minute ago )
Trump knew of whistleblower before releasing Ukraine aid
President Donald Trump was briefed on the whistleblower complaint about his dealings with Ukraine weeks before the White House released nearly $400 million in military aid to Kiev
5:22PM ( 4 minutes ago )
No. 4 Georgia a big favorite against state rival Ga Tech
No. 4 Georgia is a big favorite in its “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” rivalry against Georgia Tech
5:00PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Officials: Iraq protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf
Anti-government protesters burn down an Iranian consulate building in southern Iraq, while six protesters were killed by security forces who fired live rounds amid ongoing violence
3:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
Myriad frustrations draw Colombians back onto streets
Colombians unhappy with President Iván Duque’s response to nearly a week of boisterous protests over everything from job losses to shark hunting quotas are taking to the streets again
3:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
Evacuation orders ended as rain douses California wildfire
A storm has almost fully doused a Southern California wildfire that threatened thousands of homes
2:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Jimmy Carter out of hospital after treatment for brain bleed
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has been released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after recovering from surgery to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding from a fall
1:42PM ( 3 hours ago )
Sheriff: Marine deserter captured at Virginia murder scene
A Marine deserter wanted in the fatal shooting of his mother’s boyfriend has been arrested in Virginia after a lengthy search
1:12PM ( 4 hours ago )
US economy looking durable despite risks from trade conflict
US economy grew at a moderate 2.1% annual rate in Q3, but slowdown is expected this quarter
1:08PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Judge denies challenge to Indiana religious objection limits
An Indiana judge has canceled a trial challenging limits on the state’s religious objections law, finding the conservative groups failed to prove they were harmed by changes made shortly after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed it
1:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups
President Donald Trump says he’s moving ahead with plans to formally designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations
1:18PM ( 4 hours ago )
In Florida and elsewhere, GOP pressured over climate change
While President Donald Trump and his administration reject the urgency of the threat, leading Republicans in Florida and other states find themselves under political pressure to address the immediate impacts of climate change
12:33PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Hong Kong police to enter campus to clear hazardous items
Hong Kong police say they will enter a blockaded university to clean up dangerous items before lifting a 10-day siege, after civilian search teams found no evidence of any protesters still holding out
6:13AM ( 11 hours ago )
Judiciary Committee taking up impeachment hearings next week
House Judiciary Committee intends to bring in legal experts to examine the constitutional grounds for President Trump’s impeachment
5:49AM ( 11 hours ago )
Hong Kong police face renewed pressure to end campus siege
Hong Kong’s government has come under renewed pressure to end a 10-day police siege of a university, as a major tunnel near the campus reopens and search teams find no evidence of any protesters still holding out
4:13AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
5 dead, 3 hurt in ‘devastating’ Minneapolis high-rise fire
Five people have died after a fire broke out on the 14th floor of a public housing high-rise in a heavily immigrant neighborhood of Minneapolis
5:16PM ( 11 minutes ago )
No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors
Massachusetts has become the first state with a permanent ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes
5:08PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Ruckelshaus, who defied Nixon in Watergate firing, dies
William Doyle Ruckelshaus, who famously quit his job in the Justice Department rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s order to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal, has died
5:03PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Wind could ground big balloons at NYC’s Thanksgiving parade
New York City’s big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons
5:02PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans
Powerful winter storm rolls in Midwest, threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans
4:59PM ( 27 minutes ago )