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Mormon church opposes Utah ban against conversion therapy

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday announced its opposition of a proposed Utah licensing rule that would prohibit conversion therapy on LBGTQ youth.

While the church is against abusive forms of conversion therapy, it believes that the current proposal is “ambiguous in key areas and overreaches in others,” according to a released statement

Specifically, “it fails to protect individual religious beliefs and does not account for important realities of gender identity in the development of children,” the church said in the statement.

The proposed rule — generated by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing — came at the behest of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) after H.B. 399 died in the Utah State Legislature in February.

H.B. 399 had the support LGBTQ advocacy groups because it would’ve made it illegal for therapists and other health professionals to try and change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The church had backed the previous bill. 

According to the Deseret News, in a separate letter to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, the church’s counseling wing, LDS Family Services said that H.B. 399’s “safe harbor provisions were real and protected a number of legitimate practices not intended to change sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In the letter, LDS Family Services also urges the department to abandon the newly proposed rule and let the Legislature have another chance of passing a bill similar to H.B. 399.

If the current situation stands, the rule would be able to put into effect with a vote from lawmakers.

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