SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- A battle on Capitol Hill sends 13 people to jail. More than a dozen protested demanding state lawmakers hear Senate Bill 100. That would prohibit discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation.
About two hours ago, those 13 people were released from jail. They banded together to try to force the bill be heard before legislators. And after being released, they celebrated the day as a victory.
“For five years, we've been bringing the non-discrimination bill to the senate and to the house and they tell us it's not a good time. We are citizens of this state and we demand to be heard,” said protest organizer Troy Williams.
The scene at Capitol Hill earlier on Monday was that full of tension. The protesters were blocking a committee hearing. They were told to leave, but refused.
"We're here to represent the 72 percent of the Utah population that is not being heard when the legislature decided to block the SB 100 bills," said Michelle Turpin, protester. "We're hearing saying if you're going to block us from being heard we are going to block you out of your office."
Senate President Way Niederhauser says the ongoing legal battle with Amendment Three, Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, is why they’re holding off on hearing the anti-discrimination bill.
"We don't know the environment that we are going to be addressing these long-term issues in this state until we have our appeal adjudicated through the appeals process," said Pres. Niederhauser.
But that isn’t good enough for people who jeopardized their freedom to bring attention to Senate Bill 100.
“We are never going away we will come back to the capitol time and time again until we are fully protected under the law. This is our state and we are apart of it and we're going to raise our voice loudly,” said Williams.
Those 13 now face a handful of charges including suspicion of disorderly conduct and disruption of a public meeting. The protesters tell us it was worth being arrested to draw attention to what they’re calling a lack of action by state leaders.
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