- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Protesters called on Utah state leaders Monday to denounce homophobia and transphobia after the collapse of a measure banning LGBTQ conversion therapy.

University of Utah students who organized the demonstration sent letters to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house, calling on them to protect LGBTQ Utah residents in the future, the Deseret News reported. About 20 people protested at the capitol.

“House leadership must recognize the vulnerability of transgender Utahns, validate their humanity and right to basic freedoms, and support their livelihood with future legislative efforts,” the letters read.

The group sent also sent a letter to Republican Rep. Karianne Lisonbee asking her to apologize for sponsoring revisions to the conversion therapy ban that advocates said gutted the measure.

Lisonbee has also come under scrutiny for 2013 Facebook posts questioning whether a “homosexual lifestyle” increases suicide risk and suggesting people should have access to therapy aimed at overcoming “same-sex attraction.”

Lisonbee tells the newspaper she expressed regret for the comments in a meeting with the protesters. She has said she cares about LGBTQ youth, and her revisions to the conversion-therapy ban were aimed at finding a compromise that would ban the most abusive practices.

Protest organizers said Lisonbee did not apologize directly, but indicated that she was open to continuing the discussion. Activists initially called for Lisonbee’s resignation on social media but later retracted that demand.

Utah House Democrats condemned all forms of intolerance, including conversion therapy, in a statement Monday.

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