While a senate bill extending workplace and housing discrimination protections for LGBT Utahns died without a chance to be heard on the Senate floor, lawmakers and community advocates are starting the campaign early for the bill’s passage next year with a rally for equal rights and to announce the launch of a new website supporting the passage of a statewide nondiscrimination bill.
On March 7, the Legislature made history by passing a bill for statewide discrimination protections for LGBT Utahns out of committee. A first in the five years that advocates have been trying to get the bill advanced in the Legislature. This week however, the bill sponsors acknowledged that the bill would not be heard on the Senate floor as leadership had determined it didn’t have enough votes to pass so it wouldn’t merit any discussion.
Still equality advocates feel the issue is finally taking hold and are hoping to keep the momentum going into the next session in 2014. Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George the sponsor of this year’s failed Senate Bill 262 will be joined at the gathering with co-sponsor Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County Council member Jani Iwamoto, representatives of Mormons Building Bridges, Equality Utah and others. The group will be rallying for equal rights and announcing the launch of the Utah Values Coalition and its website UtahValues.org that will provide education about the need for a statewide nondiscrimination law to protect Utahns from discrimination simply because they’re gay or transgender.
Check out the rally, Wednesday, March 13, 5:30 p.m. at the steps of the Utah Capitol, 350 N. State.