- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement this week it opposes a proposed state law in Utah that youth conversion therapy — a practice that attempts to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Church said the proposal is too “ambiguous” and wants the law revised to consider “faith-based perspectives.”

“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 LDS Church said in their statement, according to KUTV.

“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,” they said.

Equality Utah, an advocate for LGBTQ rights in the state, tweeted their support for the law.

“Let’s be clear. Studies have found that more than 60% of children subjected to conversion therapy attempt suicide,” they said. “It’s long past time to protect youth from this dangerous practice.”

Conversion therapy has been denounced by major professional medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association.

The UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults have gone through conversion therapy, which can increase the chances of depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The practice of conversion therapy on minors has been banned thus far in the District of Columbia as well as 18 states.

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