As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, Utah’s ban of the “discredited practice” makes it the 19th state to do so and, because of its deep conservative leanings, paves the way for other right-leaning states to do so as well, according to advocates.
“It’s really given people a lot of hope,” sand Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Her group is hoping that other purple or red states will now follow suit. Already lawmakers in Virginia, Texas and Kentucky are considering banning the practice.
The Daily Mail notes:
Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change sexual orientation or gender identity. Many people who have been through it say it deepened feelings of depression and increased thoughts of suicide.
“This measure will save lives,” said Republican Rep. Craig Hall, the original sponsor of the rule.
Hall praised the state for implementing it, noting that it not only prohibits a dangerous practice but also provides protections for healthcare professionals.
The rule was implemented after state officials adopted changes that had the support of the Mormon Church, whose leaders had refused to support an earlier version that did not contain certain exceptions for clergy.
According to reports, the rule bans therapists in Utah from subjecting LGBTQ minors to a practice the American Psychological Association said is not science-based and is detrimental to the mental health of those who tried it.
Nevertheless, there was some resistance to the rule. Critics said it would lead some parents away from trying to get help for children who believe they have “unwanted” gay feelings, as well as preventing therapists from even bringing up the subject of sexuality with their child patients.
The rule was seen as a dichotomy of sorts for the Mormon Church. The faith does not support same-sex marriage and teaches that intimate same-sex marriages are sinful. However, the church also implores members to show kindness and compassion to LGBTQ persons.
A majority of state lawmakers and some two-thirds of Utah’s 3.1 million people are members of the Mormon Church, so clearly it holds much sway over policy- and lawmaking.
Church officials and parishioners supported the new rule banning conversion therapy after receiving assurances that church leaders and members who provide counseling and therapy would be able to also provide spiritual counseling for parishioners and families.
But again, not everyone is supportive of Utah’s ban or similar bans in other states. As Natural News reported, more than 30 former homosexuals and transgendered persons protested a proposed ban in California in 2018 because they say it actually works. (Related: “Pro-choice” California doesn’t believe GAY people should have a choice at all – counseling professionals to be fined and jailed.)
“I did not want to be gay,” said Christian pastor Jim Domen, who told a crowd how conversion therapy helped him to marry his wife and have children. “Please do not take away professional help programs that have helped people like me.”
Another former gay man, Equipped to Love co-founder Ken Williams, shared a similar story. He also warned that the ban would make it harder for people who did not want to be LGTBQ to receive treatment.
A ban “actually takes away rights from those who are questioning their sexuality,” Williams said, adding, “We don’t want to see an America where the government is controlling how people identify sexually.”
California banned conversion therapy in 2012, but the proposed law Williams and Domen were protesting criminalized therapy aimed at helping people who did not want to be gay.
This is what happens, though, when authoritarian politicians use the legislative process to implement their political objectives rather than create as few as laws as are needed to keep order and govern.