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State Senator Wants Utah's Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights Compromise to be a Model for the Nation

Brian Grimmett
Robin Fretwell Wilson and Sen. Stuart Adams address a session at BYU's Religious Freedom conference

At BYU’s annual religious freedom conference, state Senator Stuart Adams outlined how Utah’s compromise religious liberty, LGBT protection legislation should be a model for the nation.

Adams was one of the main architects of Utah’s compromise religious liberty, LGBT protection legislation that passed during the last legislative session. Unlike efforts to pass religious freedom bills in other states, Utah’s two bills had support from groups on both sides of the debate. Adams says he hopes other states will learn from what they did.

“The effort of trying to get specific exemptions and protections and to try and do it in amicable fashion, I think is the future,” he says.

Robin Fretwell Wilson is the director of the University of Illinois College of Law’s Family Law and Policy program. She presented alongside Adams. She says Utah’s process demonstrates why legislatures need to compromise, even when they don’t have to.

“As I said I think extending rights to LGBT community is good and decent, but it’s not only decent it presents the opportunity to clarify that same-sex marriage should not be used to extinguish a religious view of marriage,” she says.

Adams says at this point, there isn’t specific legislation being discussed that would add to what they’ve already done.

“I don’t think we want to do anything really that mars what we did last year, in setting together what I believe was a template for the nation,” Adams says.

But, he says there is some talk of addressing the issue of public accommodation. 

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