Bill would reaffirm Utah's marriage policy
Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, filed a bill Wednesday, HB270, that would reiterate the state's policy that marriage is between a man and a woman and require that publicly funded programs, laws and regulations that are designed to support families be "carefully scrutinized to ensure that they promote the family."
Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, said the group is "deeply concerned" about the proposed law.
"It could be used to create a filter for public agencies and a way to target laws, services and funding that currently help single Utahns or Utahns with families that differ from Representative Christensen's," she said.
Christensen did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.
The bill states that a married father and mother and their children are the "fundamental unit of society," echoing language found in the LDS Church's "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."
The bill adds, "Marriage and family predate all governments and are supported by and consistent with the Laws of Nature and Nature's God, the Creator and Supreme Judge of the World, affirmed in the nation's founding Declaration of Independence."
To read the bill's text and follow its status, click here.
Christensen also has filed HB182, a one-sentence bill that says, "An arrangement, agreement or transaction that is unlawful or violates public policy is void and unenforceable."
Balken worries the two bills together could be interpreted as stating that same-sex relationships are against public policy and so contracts, such as medical directives and wills, between gay and lesbian couples are void and unenforceable. Such a policy could impact anyone who depends on relationships besides those with a spouse or child.
"If that is how it is construed, then this would have implications for a great number of Utahns," Balken said.