Utah Legislature Passes Extraordinary LGBT Nondiscrimination Bill By Huge Margin


Utah, with the support of the Mormon Church, has passed a landmark LGBT anti-discrimination and religious freedom bill.

Overnight, by a huge margin, the Republican-majority Utah House passed an historic nondiscrimination bill that offers job and employment protections for LGBT people. The "Utah Compromise" adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing state nondiscrimination law.

The bill, SB 296, also adds language to exempt religious institutions and the Boy Scouts from having to comply with these protections.

But the House also passed SB 297, which would allow clerks to opt out of officiating at same-sex weddings, citing a deeply held religious belief as their reason. The bill reportedly ensures same-sex couples will not be turned away at the marriage bureau.

Fox 13's Ben Winslow reports SB 296 "which has been attempted for years in the Utah State Legislature, got massive support after it received the blessing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. SB296 was the product of heavy negotiations between its sponsors, gay rights groups and the LDS Church."

SB 296 passed by a huge 65-10 vote, and SB 297 passed by a huge 66-9 vote.

Utah Republican Governor Gary Herbert will hold a special ceremony to sign SB 296 into law this evening.

The Utah House also passed HB 322, a religious license to discriminate bill, in a 54-21 vote. It heads to the Senate today. 

"I think it will have a difficult time in the Senate," Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis told Fox 13's Winslow.



Image by Craig Hall via Twitter

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