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Non-discrimination, Religious Liberty Bills May Be Combined

Brian Grimmett

Utah lawmakers are hashing out a plan to enact state-wide protections for LGBT people in employment and housing, while protecting religious liberty. The two ideas may be combined into one piece of legislation.

Utah Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams sees the benefits in uniting the two concepts into one bill that would address concerns on both sides. Adams says that’s something Utah Governor Gary Herbert and leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints both support.

“It’s pretty easy to look back and forth from line to line to make sure that neither side has differences as far as principles,” Adams says.

Republican Senator Steve Urquhart is sponsoring a statewide non-discrimination bill. And Republican Representative Jacob Anderegg has filed legislation that would allow government employees to recuse themselves of officiating a same-sex marriage if they have religious objections. A handful of other so-called religious liberty bills are still being developed.

Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis believes the two concepts are distinctly separate. He argues non-discrimination efforts have already proven effective at the local level. 

“On the other hand this whole religious liberty issue is a new issue and needs to be discussed on what we mean by it, how far it goes,” Davis says.

Senator Adams says lawmakers are working through the details and trying to decide who would sponsor the all-inclusive legislation. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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