LGBTQ advocates react to church’s opposition to conversion therapy ban

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opposing a proposed rule to ban conversion therapy for children in Utah.

The church has said in the past that they support a ban on conversion therapy the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

They’ve even been involved in creating the legislation, but Tuesday night they released a statement that they’re not happy with the most recent proposal.

 The statement says in part:

 “The church is concerned that the proposed professional licensing rule is ambiguous in key areas and overreaches in others. For example, it fails to protect individual religious beliefs and does not account for important realities of gender identity in the development of children.”

Troy Williams, Executive Director of Equality Utah says he was surprised by the statement.

“The new rule and the old legislation are essentially identical,” said Williams.

After a hotly debated session on the Utah legislature, Utah’s conversion therapy ban is now in the hands of the State Board of Psychologists.

“Governor Herbert made it clear that science should prevail over politics and that the professional licensing board should have the ultimate say on regulating this harmful practice. Let’s be clear, every reputable mental and medical health organization in the state and in the country is supporting this rule,” said Williams.

Williams says there is language in the bill that protects religious freedoms. He’s reached out to the church for more clarification on their concerns.

“We know that when young people are subjected to conversion therapy their suicide rates triple suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in the state, so we’ve got to do this to protect young people,” added Williams.

ABC4 News reached out to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officials for inclusion in this story, but they declined.

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