Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah governor says he’s open to civil unions, but must defend same-sex ban
Gay rights » Utah governor sticks by the ban on gay marriage but is willing to consider an anti-discrimination law.


< Previous Page


Herbert said he would have to see the specifics of Urquhart’s legislation before he officially endorses the bill.

Urquhart praised the governor for supporting efforts to prevent discrimination.

At a glance

Bills aim to protect religious liberty

Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, and The Sutherland Institute unveiled a series of three bills Thursday evening that they said will protect Utahns’ religious freedom, including a requirement that Utah schools teach children about the history of religious liberty.

» One bill mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says the state must show it has a compelling interest in order to interfere with someone’s practice of their faith or their exercise of their “religious conscience.”

» The second would require Utah schools to develop and teach a curriculum on religious freedom.

» And the third would be an alternative to a bill proposed by Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, that prohibits housing and employment discrimination against gay and lesbian Utahns. Sutherland president Paul Mero said it would prevent punitive action against any employee based on activities outside the workplace that didn’t affect job performance.

The text of the bills being drafted are not yet available.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Clearly it’s helpful," Urquhart said. "That’s the job of a governor, to lead, and the only way to lead is by taking positions on issues. I think this is good leadership on his part and I think he recognizes the will of most Utahns as reflected in poll after poll. I’m proud of him."

Urquhart said he would also like to see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints take a stand on the bill, as the church did in opposing changes to Utah’s alcohol policy this week.

"While it is silent, others are speaking on the church’s behalf," Urquhart said. "In the void you have Sutherland and others who are rushing in to say that the Mormon church wants the right for its members to individually discriminate against the LGBT individuals and I don’t think that’s correct."

Mero said he’s not convinced there is a problem with housing and workplace discrimination against gay Utahns now — since only three complaints have been filed since Salt Lake City adopted its ordinance in 2009 and all three were dismissed.

"I think it’s more Urquhart playing to the gay community and the Sundance crowd and trying out a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist," Mero said. "I think Steve is in the business of baiting the LDS Church, because he knows there’s no deal on this bill unless the LDS Church signs off on it."

In various concessions and carve-outs to the non-discrimination bill, Mero said that Urquhart has created legalized discrimination in order to win votes and it is wise for Herbert to stop short of endorsing a bill that Mero said is fraught with problems.

Balken, of Equality Utah, praised Herbert’s openness on anti-discrimination legislation.

"I think it’s important to acknowledge Governor Herbert for being willing to have a meaningful conversation on non-discrimination protections," she said. It is part of a discussion other states are having "and demonstrates a willingness to engage in that conversation in a way that is thoughtful and inclusive and not only speaks well of Governor Herbert, but speaks well of Utah."


story continues below
story continues below

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.