“We expected an uphill battle,” lawmaker says of conversion therapy ban

Jan 22, 2020, 3:11 PM | Updated: 4:56 pm
utah conversion therapy ban...
Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, speaks Wednesday about conversion therapy at the Capitol in Salt Lake City. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Utah lawmaker who pushed to ban the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” is celebrating a rule change that effectively does just that in the state.

Utah became the 19th state in the country to ban the conversion therapy Wednesday, after Gov. Gary Herbert asked state regulators to step in. He directed the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to take up the issue that fell short of passage in the 2019 legislative session. Their goal was to develop professional rules based on the best available information.

Over the course of months, the agency heard debate from individuals and groups on both sides of the issue.

Rep. Craig Hall, a Republican from West Valley City, carried the legislation. While speaking at a press conference, he reflected on the challenges the bill has faced.

“We expected an uphill battle to get this bill passed,” he said.

New Rule, Familiar Language

While this specific rule is new, it does contain some language from the previous bill that failed.

“One thing I did not anticipate is how much of a privilege it would be to sponsor this legislation,” said Hall. “I have been moved to tears several times when parents told me their accounts that begin with, ‘my daughter experienced this’ or ‘my son experienced that.'”

The professional licensing rule will stop any therapist or counselor from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor.

“This bill and the administrative rule both prohibit conversion therapy throughout the state for minors,” explained Hall. “[It] also protects the legitimate interests of therapists and patients and their families.”

If a state licensed therapist were to violate the rule, they could face professional sanctions.

Troy Williams, Equality Utah’s executive director, highlighted Herbert’s actions, which he feels prevented the issue from becoming over-politicized.

“He kept his word to the LGBTQ community, and we are deeply grateful to him,” Williams said.

Instead, he thanked the governor’s office for letting science prevail over politics.

Today’s Top Stories


A new Utah population estimate finds that most of the people that moved to or within Utah between J...
Simone Seikaly

Utah population update: 60K+ people have moved here since 2021

The Utah population spike noted this year is the greatest increase in 16 years. However, growth is expected to decline going forward.
1 day ago
Ballet West "Nutcracker" battle scene....
Waverly Golden

Ballet West continues longstanding tradition, The Nutcracker

Until Dec. 24, Ballet West will be showing performances of The Nutcracker at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City.
1 day ago
The open house for the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Sain...
Mark Jones

Open house for San Juan Puerto Rico Temple begins this week

The San Juan Puerto Rico Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold an open house Dec. 1-17. It will be dedicated on Jan. 15, 2023.
4 days ago
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released the locations ...
Mark Jones

Church announces locations for six previously announced temples

Locations for six previously announced temples were announced Monday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
5 days ago
Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

First Presidency issues 2022 Christmas message

A Christmas message was released Friday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
8 days ago
Thanksgiving dinner with all the sides. (Stock photo)...
Alejandro Lucero

Pass the stuffing not the uncomfortable conversation this Thanksgiving

Dave and Dujanovic spoke with an expert who will help you void the gobble-squabble around the dinner table this Thanksgiving.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
“We expected an uphill battle,” lawmaker says of conversion therapy ban