‘Historic’ compromise on LGBT nondiscrimination and religious liberties unveiled at Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) The balance between LGBT nondiscrimination and religious liberty has been a divisive issue in Utah.

Wednesday, a bill that represents what some say is a monumental compromise drew praise from both sides.

“Faith can move mountains. Today we announce to the people of Utah, the nation and the world that we commit to move a mountain.” said Senator Steve Urquhart, (R) St. George.

Senate Bill 296, Antidiscrimination and Religious Freedom is the outcome of an extensive negotiation between interested parties.

Those parties are standing side by side as the bill goes public.

Including Equality Utah.

“People from diverse backgrounds have come together to craft what no one thought was possible. Protections for Utah’s gay and transgender community and protections for people of faith,” said Troy Williams with Equality Utah.

And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It is better that both sides get most of what is desired than to have a winner take all where one side loses,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve.

The bill includes sexual orientation and gender identity protections in employment and housing.

It addresses freedom of expressive association and religious freedoms in the workplace.

It also prohibits an employer from taking certain action based on an employees speech outside of work.

“This bill has supremacy over local laws,” said Urquhart.

A state wide standard that could serve as an example across the country.

“I think it’s monumental we’ve been able to do that today. If Utah can do this, my opinion, it can be done anywhere in the nation,” said Senator Stuart Adams, ( R ) Layton.

Religions and the Boy Scouts of America are exempt from the bill.

It is being sponsored by Urquhart and Adams in the Senate and Representative Brad Dee in the House.

It goes before the Senate Business and Labor Committee Thursday morning.

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