Honorable Representatives of the Citizens of the State of Utah:
I am writing to you today in support of HB399 sub 4, the conversion therapy ban passed out of committee on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
I have written to you previously against the original language in HB399 - the Conversion Therapy ban. I also provided testimony against the bill in the House Judiciary Committee hearing. My blog at bystudyandbyfaith.com has a number of other articles describing my experiences with what the original bill defined as "conversion therapy" but which were very positive and life saving for me.
I am grateful that Representatives Lisonbee and Bremmer heard the concerns of all sides in this bill and came up with a substitute bill (sub 4) that I believe does an excellent job of appropriately addressing all concerns.
I believe HB399 sub 4 provides adequate protections to youth by preventing medical professionals from promising a complete and permanent change or asserting that full and permanent change is necessary, while still allowing clients to explore whether change is possible for them, if they wish to do so. It provides important clarity to therapists who fear they will be accused of malpractice for treating clients with same-sex attraction who are seeking change. It outlaws therapies that are clearly abusive and harmful in their essence without outlawing the goal of therapy.
I think it important to note that Equality Utah and Representatives Hall and King repeatedly made statements surrounding the original text that exaggerated the position of the APA on change therapy and misrepresented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involvement with and endorsement of the bill.
The text of HB399 sub 4 will provide an important pattern for other states to follow should they wish to implement bans on conversion therapy. While bans passed in others states have some serious constitutional issues, this bill does not.
Please support HB399 sub 4 as written. Doing so will protect vulnerable youth by protecting them from abusive practices, preventing therapists from promising or pushing full, permanent change, while still allowing adequate access to therapy. It will provide a much needed, clear legal framework for therapists to follow in their clinical practice so they can help their clients without fear of being disciplined for respecting their client's wishes.