Herbert calls for new rules for gay conversion therapy

In this 2018 file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks at the Washington County GOP Lincoln Day Breakfast, St. George, Utah, Feb. 17, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is asking state regulators to craft new rules for psychologists who practice gay conversion therapy.

Herbert said Thursday during his monthly televised news conference at KUED-TV that he’s troubled by some reports he’s heard about conversion therapy.

The Republican governor says he sent a letter directing the state’s Psychologist Licensing Board to propose new rules by mid-September.

Conversion therapy has a long history in Utah, and a proposal to ban gay conversion therapy for minors failed during this year’s state legislative session after sponsors of the bill said it was gutted by lawmakers.

Read more: House committee makes changes to conversion therapy bill; sponsor reconsiders support

When the bill was first introduced, it was seen as a milestone when the LDS church announced it would not oppose the ban. The legislation drew opposition from those who said barring therapists from talking about changing someone’s sexual orientation would violate free-speech rights.

Troy Williams with Equality Utah said in a statement the call for new regulations is a promising step forward.

Herbert released a letter in March apologizing for his supporting changes to the original legislation, calling it “an enormous misunderstanding.”

Written by The Associated Press. Associated Press writer Lindsay Whitehurst contributed to this story.

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