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Buttars' committee kills first gay-rights bill
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The first of a series of gay-rights bills aimed at the 2009 Legislature died in the Senate judiciary committee today

Sen. Scott McCoy's SB 32 would have amended state law so that financial dependents - besides spouses, parents and children - could sue if a breadwinner suffers a wrongful death.

It is part of the four-bill Common Ground Initiative being pushed by Equality Utah to expand legal protections offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Utahns.

A standing-room only crowd listened to two hours of testimony for and against the bill before the committee, headed by Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, declined, in a 4-2 vote, to send the measure to the Senate floor. Only McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, and his Democratic colleague Ross Romero voted in favor of the bill.

McCoy's measure would have benefited same-sex couples but also other nontraditional households, such as one in which a grandmother relies on a grandson for financial support. Unlike spouses, parents and children, a wrongful-death designee would have to prove a financially dependent relationship with the victim to go to court.

McCoy said he plans to introduce the bill again in the 2010 session.

rwinters@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">rwinters@sltrib.com

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