A state regulation is pending in Utah that would prohibit psychologists from using gay conversion therapy on minors—and on Tuesday night, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement announcing its opposition to the ban. "We teach the right of individuals to self-determination and the right of parents to guide the development of their children. We also believe faith-based perspectives have an important and ethically appropriate role in professional counseling," the statement reads. "The Church is concerned that the proposed professional licensing rule is ambiguous in key areas and overreaches in others. For example, it fails to protect individual religious beliefs and does not account for important realities of gender identity in the development of children."
The church wants the rule, approved by the state's licensing board in July, to be amended to address the concerns it has. LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Utah tweeted in response, "Let's be clear. Studies have found that more than 60% of children subjected to conversion therapy attempt suicide. It's long past time to protect youth from this dangerous practice." As CBS News reports, more than a dozen states have already banned gay conversion therapy, and both the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association oppose it. In fact, the APA said last year that attempting to change a person's sexual orientation carries with it "a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated," noting that "no credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation." (Read more gay conversion therapy stories.)