The tiny town of Springdale hosts thousands of tourists visiting Zion National Park each year. Now, it is extending a welcoming hand to gay and transgender residents and workers.
This week, Springdale, population 529, became the 15th city, county or town in Utah to adopt anti-discrimination ordinances. In 2009, Salt Lake City became the first in Utah to pass such measures, which forbid discrimination in housing and employment based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
State law already prohibits bias based on characteristics such as religion, national origin, sex or race. Earlier this year, the Utah Legislature snuffed out a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing fair housing and employment laws.
Springdale is the first city or town in Washington County to make it illegal to fire or evict someone for being gay or transgender.
Fay Cope, Springdale town clerk, said Springdale has long been an "inclusive" place. "People are welcome here from everywhere," she said.
Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, said residents of Washington and Iron counties have beefed up their organizing efforts in the past year with a southern Utah campaign. The group also is talking to Holladay city officials about anti-discrimination ordinances.
The other places that have adopted ordinances are: Park City, Alta, Logan, West Valley City, Murray, Taylorsville, Moab, Midvale, Ogden, Harrisville, Salt Lake County, Summit County and Grand County.