Skip to main content

Midvale Journal

Midvale passes conversion therapy resolution

Jul 18, 2019 03:30PM ● By Erin Dixon

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

“NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Midvale City urges the Utah State Legislature and the Governor of the State of Utah to adopt a statute that protects minors from conversion therapy by prohibiting licensed mental health therapists from subjecting minors to these harmful and discredited practices…” Resolution NO. 2019-R-30, passed unanimously 5-0 on July 2. 

This resolution is to urge Utah legislators to pass the bill banning the therapy for minors. Council members Dustin Gettel and Bryant Brown submitted this resolution in support of the same action taken by Salt Lake County Council.

Gettel asserted that the state was indeed about to ban conversion therapy for minors this past session, but was halted. 

“The prohibition ship on conversion therapy was set to sail in the last session but at the last second it got hijacked by pretty much a single legislator. With resolutions passed by the county and individual cities, it's going to take more than just one or two rogue legislators to sink a conversion therapy ban in the next session."

The Midvale resolution asserted that conversion therapy “has been disavowed by the nation’s leading medical and mental health organizations” and, as an attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity, does more harm than change. 

Sophia Hawes-Tingey, an active community member, urged the council to pass this resolution. 

“I am….chair of the Transgender Inclusion Project. I’m also the legislative liaison for the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. I’ve been up the hill speaking and advocating trying to inform people about the dangers of conversion therapy and trying to help educate them.”

In some cases, a youth who identifies as LGBTQ is ousted from their own home if they do not attend conversion therapy. 

“...[W]e have a significant number of LGBT youth in the homeless shelters, about 42% identify as LGBTQ because they can’t change who they are,” Hawes-Tingey said. 

Another Midvale resident, Alan Anderson, spoke to council in favor of the resolution, specifically stating that city opinion can change state action.  

“About 10 years ago I brought to the council a resolution about the discrimination statute that the state was backpedaling on.... And Midvale, I believe, was the third city to pass a discrimination statute and so eventually the state agreed. And I think it’s important that we voice our opinion on this also.”

Councilmember Paul Hunt had a different, albeit supportive opinion. During the vote, he stated that: “It’s not that I’m for conversion therapy or anything like that, I’m just going back to the concept that to serve within our jurisdictions we have a lot of work to do and I just don’t want to get into a lot of different subjects...that are state level or national level and have our city attorney or city staff spend time on that. …[S]o I think for those reasons I’m going to abstain.”

Gettel reminded him that this was not possible. “I don’t think you can abstain unless you have a conflict of interest.”

Hunt then said, “So, I can’t abstain. Well, then, I have to vote for it.”

The resolution passed unanimously.