SALT LAKE CITY — The discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children is now banned in Utah, making it the 19th state, and one of the most conservative, to prohibit it.
Supporters navigated a winding path to passage and some dissent remains, but barring it in Utah could give a boost to similar efforts in other right-leaning states, said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
“It’s really given people a lot of hope,” said Minter, whose group has pushed for bans around the country. Virginia is considering a ban, and the issue could also come up this year in Texas and Kentucky, he said.
The change in Utah comes after the state hammered out a regulatory rule that had the support of the influential Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Leaders had opposed a previous version because it didn’t have certain exceptions for clergy.
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.