Gov. Herbert proposes new rule to ban conversion therapy on minors

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Gov. Gary R. Herbert has directed the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Utah Department of Commerce, to file a new rule to ban conversion therapy on minors in the state of Utah.

The rule uses language from H.B. 399, presented by Rep. Craig Hall during the 2019 General Legislative Session, and will apply to all licensed therapists practicing in Utah.

The rule is backed by a wide variety of public leaders, organizations and policy groups, who are united in supporting the effort to end the practice of conversion therapy on minors.

This development brings resolution to conflicts surrounding technical language and comes after an exhaustive process. Since the public comment period closed, DOPL has been immersed in considering all 2,465 individual comments submitted regarding the first draft of a rule regulating conversion therapy. Since that time, the governor’s office has worked with a number of stakeholders with input on specific, technical aspects of the language in the rule.

“I have learned much through this process. The stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heart-rending, and I’m grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state,” Herbert said in a press release. “I’m grateful to the many stakeholders who came to the table in good faith, with never-ending patience. I’m also grateful  to the dedicated board members at DOPL for their work that enabled us to come together to craft this rule.”

A number of state representatives, advocates and organizations have expressed support for the rule.

“We are profoundly grateful to Governor Herbert and the Psychologist Licensing Board for the thoughtful and meticulous manner in which they have worked to protect LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy,” Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said in a release. “We are pleased that the new rule will mirror the legislation that was drafted and introduced earlier this year. We have no doubt the adoption of this rule will send a life-saving message to LGBTQ+ youth across our state.”

DOPL is working to file the rule, which will be published on Dec. 15. The 30-day public comment period will end on Jan. 14, 2020. The new rule could be effective as early as Jan. 22, 2020.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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