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Lawmakers to Release Compromise Anti-discrimination, Religious Freedom Bill

torbakhopper via Creative Commons

Utah House and Senate leaders will likely unveil a bill on Tuesday that provides protections for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment and housing, while also protecting religious liberty.

The bill is a culmination of weeks of negotiations that began shortly after leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in January their support for state-wide protections for LGBT people as long as protections are provided for religious liberty.

Several bills were filed this session dealing with both issues, but Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams said he’s optimistic this latest iteration will have the support it needs to pass.

“I think I have enough, that probably everybody is just going to be a little unhappy and that’s usually when you have consensus,” Adams said.

Republican House Speaker Greg Hughes is also optimistic. He referred back to the LDS church statement, saying the legislature is taking a better approach to the proposal this year than in years past.

“That was a strong statement that there is room for both of these policies to live in the same room and hopefully maybe in the same bill,” Hughes said.

Republican Senator Steve Urquhart of St. George will sponsor the bill.

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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