This seminar will tell a remarkable story of transformation. Within the space of a decade, the State of Utah moved from defending conversion therapy to banning it. The lessons learned from this journey show that if it can happen in Utah, conversion therapy can be banned everywhere. Ten years ago, Alex Cooper was sent by her parents to be tortured in an effort to change her sexual orientation. The State of Utah defended her parents’ supposed right to determine their daughter’s sexual orientation. The State of Utah also challenged Cooper’s right to be represented by a lawyer of her own choosing. Cooper prevailed in an extended legal battle and obtained a trailblazing court order that established her right to live as an openly gay teenager, prohibited her parents from subjecting her to conversion therapy, and affirmed her right to date girls. After assisting with Cooper’s case, the National Center for Lesbian Rights launched its Born Perfect campaign to ban conversion therapy across the country. Equality Utah, led by its Executive Director Troy Williams, took on Utah’s political and ecclesiastical establishments to promote a ban on conversion therapy. The process included negotiating with adversaries, recruiting allies, a high-profile resignation from a task force that dominated the headlines in Utah for a week. The proposed ban began as a legislative proposal and ultimately became law in January 2020 by executive action.
Speakers: Paul Burke (Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C.); Alex Cooper; Shannon Minter (National Center for Lesbian Rights); Troy Williams (Equality Utah)
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