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Utah House Business and Labor Committee Endorses Anti-Gay Discrimination in Employment and Housing

Timothy Kincaid

February 17th, 2009

Utah House Bill 267 would have banned discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation. Naturally, Utah legislators couldn’t have that.

Sponsored by Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, HB267 is part of the Common Ground Initiative, a legislative push for legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Utahns. Johnson called the decision to kill her bill in committee an “endorsement of discrimination.”

…Opponents argued the bill was part of a wider gay “agenda” aimed at undermining Utah’s Amendment 3, which forbids same-sex marriage.

According to Republican representatives James Dunnigan, Gage Froerer, Kevin Garn, Francis Gibson, Todd Kiser, Michael Morley, Patrick Painter, and R. Curt Webb, it is perfectly acceptable to fire someone because you suspect they may be gay. And that person should have no recourse whatsoever.

It’s an odd feeling to know that some people don’t want you to be able to support yourself or have a roof over your head because you are gay. And its frightening to know that a majority of Utah’s legislators support those people.

Utah is a very scary place.



February 17th, 2009 | LINK

Their mormons, what would u expect. Religious ppl are the slowest to change.

Stefano A
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

I would like to say I’m surprised. But I’m not. What is so infuriating is the reason “it’s a choice” when so is their relgion.

I am seriously wondering if a better tactic in Utah would be for advocates to stop legislating for LGBT protections and start petitioning to remove religious protections. Maybe then people would begin to better understand the irrationality of their “choice” argument.

The adoption bill that failed is a bit more complicated. Just as archaic, it failed not only because of anti-gay sentiments, but the self-righteous attitude toward unmarried heterosexuals stemming back to the prejudicial days of “bastard children”.

I agree, Utah is a scary place. So is Tennessee. Both states I have gone out of my way to avoid when travelling.

At the same time, with regard to anti-discrimination measures for employment and housing, I can’t say Ohio has been much better (excepting city-level protections). But I’m still holding out hope for EHEA this year and hate-crime changes.

In Utah, I don’t expect the final bill to be passed either for hospital visitation, medical decisions or inheritance rights to pass either.

I think it’s been more than clear that (a) the Mormon church and other religious folk will see any recognition of gay couples as being against heterosexual marriage, and (b) in the same vein, any rights at all would require them to back off their self-righteous and self-serving religious arguments and admit how they’ve conflated church and state issues.

Mark C
February 18th, 2009 | LINK

If President Obama passes ENDA and other anti-discrimination laws designed to protect LGBT people, wouldn’t it be the end of state-level laws allowing discrimination against us?

We have an advocate in the White House now – let’s focus our efforts on supporting him on a broader scale with initiatives like overturning the Federal DOMA and force the states to comply with Federal regulations.

Scott P.
February 18th, 2009 | LINK

Mark C, federal trumps state law, but don’t hold your breath for anything from Obama.

Mark F.
February 19th, 2009 | LINK

Actually, just because you oppose anti-discrimination laws does not mean you find anti-gay discrimination to be acceptable. This is a fallacy. I oppose ALL anti-discrimination laws because I favor absolute freedom of association.

Mark F.
February 19th, 2009 | LINK

As far as I know, it’s illegal for gay people to discriminate against religious bigots in employment or housing. Why should this be? Why shouldn’t I be able to refuse to rent an apartment to a bigot or hire them just like I’m allowed to boycott a bigot’s business?

Timothy Kincaid
February 19th, 2009 | LINK

Mark F,

I oppose ALL anti-discrimination laws because I favor absolute freedom of association.

I’ll buy that argument on the day in which those who say “no” to gay anti-discrimination laws introduce legislation to do away with religion based anti-discrimination laws. Oddly enough, that never seems to happen.

And in the case of Utah… it actually is true that the state Legislature has unquestionably given permission – if not downright encouragement – for blatant anti-gay discrimination.

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