Youth should have just as much right and access to therapy that adults have. Utah's proposed conversion therapy ban would remove that right from children.
From the therapies that I have found successful, my sexual response is fueled by the stories I told myself about what my core feelings (a need for friends of my same gender) mean. Utah's bill would make it so that youth wouldn't be able to explore with a professional therapist how the stories they tell themselves fuel their sexual response.
Same sex attraction is not caused by sexual abuse in most men, but I personally know two men whose sexual response was caused by sexual abuse. Utah's bill would not allow a therapist to explore with youth who have been abused and then experience same sex attraction whether their sexual response is fueled by the abuse and whether it can be changed.
Youth can have confusing feelings, but they're also capable of thinking many things through. Utah's bill would make it so that they would not be able to explore alternate meanings with a professional therapist, but at the same time they would continue to be bombarded with society's story saying they can't change.
Some youth might not seek therapy at all if they feel like they won't be helped to live their religious beliefs. They may not talk about their feelings at all, which puts them at greater risk for suicidality.
There are some parents that don't have their child's best interest in mind. But most do. Most will be paying attention to whether the therapy is helping or harming their child. Most therapists care about their client's wellbeing and will monitor how well the therapy is working and whether it is causing harm.
Antidepressants are only effective in 30% of individuals in randomized clinical trials. They are known to cause suicidality in youth. But we don't ban them. We trust doctors to monitor their patients for signs of suicide. Why not trust therapists to do the same?
Utah's bill is part of a nationwide campaign to stop all forms of this therapy for all clients (adults included) from all different practitioners. While in Utah the proposed bill is only aimed at minors, it is already illegal in New Jersey and in New York City for anyone to offer these kinds of services for pay to anyone (adults or minors). It almost became illegal in California last year.
Finally, the American Psychological Association has been, to some extent, dishonest in how they have approached conversion therapy. From a summary of a recent paper on the subject:
States are rushing to ban change therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction and gender identity conflicts (though over 20 have refused), with California aiming to make anything like it (and then some) prosecutable consumer fraud. Activists often conflate stories of alleged torture and shaming from non-professional “therapy” sources as evidence against licensed professionals offering change counseling. Modern sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE)—pejoratively labeled “conversion therapy”—means counseling. Change counseling is talk, just talk. Reparative therapists (a 1990s term) have long condemned aversive methods (electric shocks, cold baths, etc.) as unethical and ineffective. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center May 2016 hit piece “Quacks” confirmed that neither “electric shock” nor other “aversion therapy” is used in change therapy. The Rhode Island ACLU opposes “conversion therapy” but also opposes legislative bans. A recent newspaper editorial asserted that states should not be banning desired change therapy any more than also-controversial alternative-complementary medicine practices. A gay-identified columnist shares that concern and opposes bans as ideological overreach.
Amid the fray, a new study on SOCE titled “Effects of Therapy on Religious Men Who Have Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction” was published on July 23. In a brief introduction to SOCE history, the authors note the irony in the 2009 American Psychological Association report advising against change therapy due to an alleged lack of methodologically rigorous research proving it safe or effective, that then recommended gay-affirmative therapy, which lacks the same validation of safety and efficacy. They added that the “research community ignores all the positive study results from the dozens of SOCE studies done over the past several decades,” while giving a pass to gay-affirmative therapy with the same deficiencies.
Please don't ban the goal of therapy for anyone, including minors.