Utah House Unanimously Passes Bill to Protect Youth from Conversion Therapy
In a historic vote, the Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 228 – legislation that would prohibit therapists from subjecting youth to conversion therapy, a dangerous practice that seeks to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Utah Senate passed the bill earlier this month, which means it is now on its way to Utah Governor Spencer Cox, who has pledged to sign it.
Today’s vote marks the first time that a state legislative body has voted unanimously in favor of a bill prohibiting conversion therapy for minors.
In 2020, the Utah Division of Professional Licensing adopted a policy barring conversion therapy for minors. The Utah Legislature has now taken action to codify that prohibition in state law, as twenty other states have also done.
“Utah’s legislature has confirmed that protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy is a bipartisan issue,” said Mathew Shurka, co-founder of Born Perfect. “This is a historic day for survivors like myself and the many family members who have lost loved ones due to the devastation caused by this deadly practice. Every LGBT child deserves the dignity of being protected under the law.”
Conversion therapy has been rejected as unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“We are thrilled to see Utah take this historic step to ensure that youth and their families are protected from this unethical practice,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Once again, Utah has shown that legislators can come together to do the right thing even in this polarized era.”
Born Perfect is a survivor-led program created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices. https://bornperfect.org.