Thursday, January 23, 2020

Utah Administrative Rule Banning Conversion Therapy Becomes Effective

As reported by NPR, in Utah a new rule under the Mental Health Professional Practice Act (full text of rule [scroll to pp. 61-66]) bans mental health professionals from providing conversion therapy to minors. The rule defines conversion therapy as
any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient or client, including mental health therapy that seeks to change, eliminate, or reduce behaviors, expressions, attractions, or feelings related to a patient or client's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The new rule became effective yesterday.  It excludes from coverage:
(i) a clergy member or religious counselor who is acting substantially in a pastoral or religious capacity and not in the capacity of a mental health therapist; or
(ii) a parent or grandparent who is a mental health therapist and who is acting substantially in the capacity of a parent or grandparent and not in the capacity of a mental health therapist.
KUER traces the evolution of the ban in Utah. After the original version of the ban failed to pass the state legislature last year, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert negotiated a version with the above exclusions that gained the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While Utah becomes the 19th state to pass this sort of ban, it is the first with a Republican governor and Republican controlled legislature to do so. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]