Governor Herbert calls for compromise on religious freedom and LGBT nondiscrimination

By Glen Mills

Published 02/12 2015 04:48PM

Updated 02/12 2015 06:46PM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) Religious leaders from various churches teamed up at the Capitol to support nondiscrimination legislation for the LGBT community.

They want the state legislature to include sexual orientation and gender identity into Utah’s nondiscrimination laws.

“They could be evicted at a moments notice for no reason. They could be a wonderful employee, they could be a wonderful tenant, but they could lose their house, lose their employment,” said Doree Burt with Mormons Building Bridges.

That’s why this group is calling on the legislature to pass Senate Bill 100 once and for all.

“This is the 6th year this legislation has come before our legislators and it’s time to pass this bill,” said Rev. Curtis Price with the First Baptist Church.

They are also opposing House Bill 322, a religious liberty proposal by Representative LaVar Christensen.

“It’s not about being able to discriminate because of our beliefs, instead it’s about being able to welcome one anther and live in peace,” said Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman with Congregation Kol Ami.

In a written statement Christensen says: “This session we are working closely and very carefully to make sure that these protections are fairly applied and balanced for the benefit of all. I sincerely want to make sure that in the vital areas of housing and employment, all persons are fully respected and protected.”


Governor Herbert wants to see one bill that addresses both, religious freedom and nondiscrimination.

“I would be very disappointed if I had a bill for religious freedom that did not include antidiscrimination. And whether that rises to the level of a veto we would need to see,” said Herbert, (R) Ut.

The governor says it won’t be easy, but the timing is right.

He says if all parties come together with compassion and compromise it can happen.

If not?

“If we can’t find that balance, my prediction is we won’t have a bill,” said Herbert.

When asked if he would officiate a same-sex marriage the governor said he’s never been asked and if he was he would probably respectfully decline.

The sponsor of SB 100, Senator Steve Urquhart says he is still working on the bill and hopes to have it ready for committee next week.

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