SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Department of Commerce has made public a pair of proposed rules that would ban conversion therapy on LGBTQ children.
The rules, which will be formally published on Dec. 15 at the start of a 30-day public comment period, were made public on Wednesday. They essentially mirror a bill proposed in the Utah State Legislature that failed to pass.
As FOX 13 first reported on Tuesday night, the revised rule came about as a result of negotiations between LGBTQ rights groups, suicide prevention advocates, legislative leaders and even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Speaking to FOX 13 on Wednesday, Governor Gary Herbert said calling the deal a monumental lift was “an understatement.” He was optimistic the rule would go into effect by mid-January.
“It’s been a tough thing,” the governor said. “There are legitimate issues on both sides of the question here about religious rights and how can people advocate for doctrines they believe in, versus what, in fact, is appropriate behavior by therapists and what can you do and when do you cross the line into something we think is inappropriate.”
Gov. Herbert said people from all sides of the issue worked together to find a good compromise.
“I think this is a really good compromise and a good starting point for us so I’m hopeful over the 30 day comments, we’ll have support and the rule will become official,” he said.
The last version of the proposed rules had overwhelming public support for a ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy. The rule was proposed by the governor after a bill failed to pass the legislature. More socially conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill modified it to the point that its sponsor, Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, said he could not support his own legislation anymore. The Latter-day Saint church did not oppose the original bill but expressed concerns about the rule.
Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, the House Judiciary Committee chairwoman who proposed an amendment to the bill in the legislature over concerns about parental rights, declined to comment on the proposed rule or the governor’s deal through a spokesman for the House Majority Caucus.
“This has been a very emotional and trying process for many and I am pleased our Executive Branch and stakeholders have found areas of agreement,” House Speaker Brad Wilson said in a post on Twitter. “Lawmakers will monitor the rule making process and its implementation to ensure the best interest of all Utahns are met.”
LGBTQ rights groups praised Utah lawmakers and the governor for doing this.
“As a survivor of conversion therapy, I am tremendously encouraged to see Utah on the road to becoming the 19th state to protect LGBTQ youth from this discredited practice,” Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ crisis hotline, said in an email. “The rules put forward today by the Governor will protect thousands of young people in Utah, and galvanize momentum to protect youth across the country.”
Read the proposed rules here: