The controversial practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children has been banned in Utah. Issued on Tuesday by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, the ban makes Utah the 19th state, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, to outlaw the practice.

Herbert declined to comment on the new rule after it was issued.

Conversion therapy is any practice that attempts to forcibly change a person’s sexuality or gender identity. It is overwhelmingly associated with programs that claim to make gay people straight and trans people identify with their assigned gender. The practice has been found to be ineffective and it greatly increases the risk of depression and suicide for those who undertake it.

The rule was first proposed by Herbert in November. At the time, Herbert directed the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to file the ban, with input from activists and organizations taken into account.

“I have learned much through this process,” Herbert said in a Facebook statement. “The stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heart rending, and I'm grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state. I'm grateful to the many stakeholders who came to the table in good faith, with never ending patience. I'm also grateful to the dedicated board members at DOPL for their work that enabled us to come together to craft this rule.”

The ban has so far been met with positivity from activist groups, including the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide amongst LGBTQ teenagers.

“The Trevor Project commends the State of Utah for taking bold action to protect thousands of LGBTQ young people in Utah from the discredited practice of conversion therapy,” Casey Pick, the Trevor Project’s senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs, said in a statement. “This is historic progress and further proof that protecting youth from this danger transcends regional or political divides.”

gay conversion therapy report A young boy waves a rainbow flag while watching a gay pride parade in San Francisco, June 28, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage