SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Utah House representatives and members from Utah’s LGBTQ+ community have come to an agreement on the controversial House Bill 228, after changes to the language gained support from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.

“At the outset, Equality Utah would like to thank the sponsors and involved lawmakers, Rep. [Mike] Petersen, Rep. [Brady] Brammer, Senator [Curtis] Bramble, and others, for being open to thoughtful conversation on this challenging topic,” said Equality Utah in a statement. “We’ve had important dialogue and have shared our concerns openly, and for that we are grateful.”

The bill, titled “Unprofessional Conduct Amendments,” sought to prohibit “certain health care professionals” from providing conversion therapy to a minor. The bill also sought to clarify that verbal or written communication by itself does not fall within the definition of conversion therapy, which Equality Utah contended against.

In January, Equality Utah, an LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, criticized HB 228 saying that it will harm LGBTQ children by allowing talk therapy.

“The only form of conversion therapy that is still prevalent in the United States today is conversion talk therapy – which has been discredited and denounced by every major health and medical organization in the country,” said Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams in a statement released earlier this month.

Since then, Equality Utah has worked alongside bill sponsor Rep. Mike Petersen (R-North Logan) to clarify the bill and strike the language from the bill.

With the newly adopted version of the bill, verbal and written communication would fall under the definition of conversion therapy. The new bill also specifies that healthcare professionals can not provide conversion therapy to a minor client and provides a severability clause.

“I am happy to sponsor this important legislation which provides clarity for professionals while continuing to protect Utah’s LGBTQ+ youth,” said Rep. Petersen. “As a former counselor, the current [Utah Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL)] rule has been particularly concerning to me. I have spoken with former colleagues who stopped treating minors because of the ambiguity in the DOPL rule and fear of reprisal if they were to say something non-affirming to their minor patients.”

Rep. Petersen said he had spoken with members of the LGBTQ+ community who were grateful for the changes to the bill, saying they wished their counselors were more inquisitive and curious during their therapy sessions.

With the changes, Equality Utah said the bill will continue to prohibit conversion therapy while providing greater clarification for Utah therapists.

“Accordingly, we support the advancement of HB228 as amended,” said Equality Utah.

President of conservative LGBTQ+ advocacy group Utah Log Cabin Republicans Goud Maragani also voiced his support for the newly amended bill, saying it will allow health professionals to talk about all the options available for children suffering from gender dysphoria.

H.B. 228 will be considered in the House Business and Labor Committee on Monday, Feb. 6 at 3:40 p.m. at the State Capitol.