Two suicide task force members resign, protesting Governor

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Governor Gary Herbert faced angry rebukes from two members of his suicide prevention task force on Wednesday with each saying he abandoned LGBTQ youth by siding with supporters of so-called “conversion therapy.”

Conversion therapy is a widely discredited practice of trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of an LGBTQ person commonly practiced by conservative religious practitioners who belief LGBTQ lifestyles are immoral.

Organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association say such therapy is unethical and ineffective.

In a news conference, the executive directors of Equality Utah and the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide-Utah announced their resignations from the Governor’s suicide task force.

Troy Williams of Equality Utah said, “Governor Herbert turned his back on LGBTQ youth, he turned his back on the leading medical and mental health experts, and he sided with conversion therapists.”

At issue is a bill that replaced an original measure to ban conversion therapy. The replacement bill narrowly defined conversion therapy as “…when the therapist claims that the therapy will result in complete and permanent reversal in a patient's or client's sexual orientation.”

Law professor and Equality Utah board member Clifford Rosky said the replacement definition was so narrow as to make the law irrelevant.

Governor Herbert did not respond on camera, but his office shared the letters he sent to the task force members who resigned. We’ve included those letters below:

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