Now that SLC has passed it, will state consider gay rights law?

by | Nov. 11, 2009

News from Utah

Now that Salt Lake City has passed an anti-discrimination ordinance for gays and lesbians in employment and housing, eyes turn toward Utah's Capitol Hill, and many people are wondering if the Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert will follow suit.

Government and civic leaders said Wednesday the fight will be much tougher in the conservative Legislature, although the chances for an anti-discrimination law may be enhanced by the statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tuesday night before the Salt Lake City Council endorsing those local ordinances. Lawmakers could do three things when they come into January's general session: They could adopt a statewide law similar to the city's; they could actually repeal the city ordinance and ban all other local governments from doing likewise; or they could do nothing, which would let the city ordinance stand.

Wednesday, Rep. Chris Johnson, D-Salt Lake, said she will, again, introduce a bill that is "very similar" to the city's new ordinance. Whether it will pass or not is certainly debatable, said Johnson, one of three openly gay Utah legislators.

Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said he expects the issue to come up next session.

"I don't know where it will go," he said. "It depends on whether they try to plow new ground with it." Waddoups said he would be willing to support legislation protecting employment and housing rights for gay Utahns if current statutes are unclear.

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