Mormon church opposes Utah's proposed ban of 'conversion therapy' for LGBTQ minors


SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a statement Tuesday night declared its opposition to a proposed ban of "conversion therapy" for minors in Utah.

"Conversion therapy" is a practice that attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ people. Utah's proposed regulations would prohibit psychologists in the state from practicing the so-called therapy on minors.

The Mormon Church said in part, "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 church added that it believes the proposed rule "fails to protect individual religious beliefs and does not account for important realities of gender identity in the development of children."

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) for over two decades has strongly opposed the practice of "conversion therapy."

"The American Psychiatric Association does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed," the APA said in a 2013 statement. "And efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change."

No credible evidence exists that any form of therapy can change sexual orientation, according to the APA.

Other professional organizations that oppose "conversion therapy" are the American Medical Association, the World Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

On Monday, Ferndale became the second city in Michigan to ban the practice and make it punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. The move came four months after Huntington Woods made it a civil infraction to perform "conversion therapy."

The practice is currently banned 18 states. Legislation was introduced earlier this year to ban the use of "conversion therapy" on youth throughout Michigan.

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