Utah governor takes action to regulate conversion therapy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has taken action that could lead to the regulation of “ex-gay” conversion therapy in a state with a history of widespread use of the discredited practice.

In a letter dated June 17 and made public Thursday, Herbert ordered the Utah’s Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing to establish rules to regulate psychological interventions with LGBT youth and prevent unethical practices.

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Utah high school football players suspended for burning Pride flag

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Two high school football players from Kearns, Utah have been suspended from the team for posting and sharing a video showing a Pride flag burning and using homophobic language.

The player, from Kearns High School, posted a video on Snapchat of someone lighting a Pride flag on fire. In the video, someone can be heard saying “All gays die.”

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Suspect in Utah killing of LGBTQ rights advocate found in Idaho after 2-day manhunt

By : Wire Report
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) | Idaho police captured a man May 24 suspected of shooting and killing a motorist in northern Utah earlier this week after a two-day manhunt.

Officers arrested 45-year-old Jonathan Llana about 3:15 p.m. in an area of southern Idaho outside of Pocatello about 10 miles from where the suspect crashed his car into a canal after a police pursuit May 22, according to news releases from Idaho State Police and the Utah Highway Patrol. LLana had broken into a house in the area and stolen an all-terrain vehicle, they said. No officers or residents were injured.

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Gay conversion therapy ban won’t pass in Utah this year

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Supporters say the fight to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in conservative Utah is over for the year after lawmakers gutted the proposal.

A prominent activist on March 6 blasted Gov. Gary Herbert’s support for the changes that would have allowed therapists to talk about changing sexual orientation as long as they didn’t promise to reverse it.

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Bid to fortify Utah hate-crimes law passes first Senate vote

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | A bid to strengthen the state’s hate-crimes law passed its first vote on March 4 following an occasionally emotional debate over the long-stalled idea that’s been gaining steam since the beating of a Latino man in Salt Lake City.

The state has reached a tipping point on the issue, said Republican sponsor Sen. Daniel Thatcher.

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Proposed ban on LGBT conversion therapy getting pushback

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | A proposal to ban gay conversion therapy for minors encountered pushback in conservative Utah on March 1 as state lawmakers questioned whether it’s too restrictive for therapists talking about sexual orientation with young clients.

Supporters of the measure said it allows discussion about sexuality, as long as there’s no attempt to change orientation or gender identity. Conversion therapy has a history in Utah, including the use of now-outdated physical techniques like electroshock therapy, and is associated with higher rates of depression and suicide attempts, supporters said.

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Utah hate-crimes law to get hearing after years of gridlock

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | A proposal to strengthen Utah’s hate-crimes law will get a hearing, marking a potential turning point for the idea long stuck in legislative gridlock, lawmakers said Feb. 19.

Republican sponsor Sen. Daniel Thatcher said the bill will be publicly discussed on Feb. 21, and he’s confident that a panel of lawmakers will approve it.

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Mormon church says it’s not opposed to hate-crime bill

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | The Mormon church said Jan. 24 it doesn’t oppose hate-crimes legislation in Utah that includes protections for LGBT people, an announcement that could break a longtime legislative logjam on the issue.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ sought to clarify that it has not actively been blocking hate crimes legislation and will not stand in the way if lawmakers take up the issue this year, said Marty Stephens, the faith’s director of government and community relations and a lobbyist for the church.

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Couples look back 5 years after same-sex marriage ban lifted

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Many Utah couples are celebrating their fifth anniversary this month and looking back on their rush to wed after a federal judge had become the first in the country to strike down a state ban on gay marriage.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s laws against same-sex marriage were unconstitutional on Dec. 20, 2013, leading to more than 1,200 couples dashing to county clerks’ offices to become legally married during the 17-day window after the ruling.

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Utah group seeks ban on gay conversion therapy for minors

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Equality Utah’s executive director Troy Williams (L) discusses suicide prevention with lawmakers, faith leaders and members of the Governor’s Youth Suicide Task Force looking on. Photo courtesy Equality Utah’s Facebook page

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Utah’s most powerful LGBTQ support organization wants legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors.

Equality Utah has drafted a measure aiming for Utah to join more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia in outlawing efforts to change a minor’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

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Mormons to stay outdoors after split with Boy Scouts

By : wire report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | The Mormon church’s new youth program, which will roll out in 2020 when it cuts all ties with Boy Scouts of America, will still include outdoor and adventure activities even as the initiative becomes more gospel-focused, the faith confirmed September 21.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a few more details about the initiative in a news release that said a full and detailed description will come later because different aspects of the program are still being tested.

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Nevada detective fired after sex abuse charge in Utah

By : wire report
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MESQUITE, Nev. (AP)| A veteran Nevada police detective was fired Wednesday following his arrest last week on charges accusing him of sexually abusing a southern Utah teen he met on a social networking app geared toward gay and bisexual men.

Gary Erickson, who was arrested Sept. 12 in Las Vegas, is awaiting extradition to St. George, Utah, on one count of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of dealing in material harmful to a minor and three counts of sexual exploitation.

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