Celebrating Progress and Looking Ahead in Utah
March 20, 2013 by Jeremy Pittman, Deputy Field Director
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with HRC Utah Federal Club members at an event sponsored by HRC National Corporate Partner Diageo. It’s always a pleasure to meet HRC’s most committed supporters, to hear their stories about why they’re involved with HRC, and to bring them firsthand news about the work HRC is doing around the country to support critical pro-equality legislation.
While in Salt Lake City, I also met with leaders from Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center.
HRC is proud to have partnered with Equality Utah this year to press for passage of a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Utah is one of the states where it’s still legal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people simply because of who they are.
For the first time this year, the bill was introduced by a Republican lead sponsor, Senator Stephen Urquhart of Washington County. Also for the first time this year, the bill received a legislative hearing and a winning vote in committee. Voting for the bill in the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee were two Democrats and two Republicans, demonstrating again that discrimination is not a partisan issue. Utah’s legislative session was gaveled to a close last week without a final vote on the bill, but we appreciate this year of significant firsts and applaud the work of Equality Utah, pro-equality legislators of both parties, and advocates for the Utah Values of fairness, family, love, and opportunity.
The Utah Pride Center serves as a vital source of information and community in Salt Lake City and beyond. In addition to critical healthcare and social programs, the Center produces the annual Utah Pride Festival and engages in valuable advocacy and education projects. This year, the Center spearheaded the submission of an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case challenging the constitutionality of California’s constitutional ban on marriage equality, Proposition 8. The brief was submitted on behalf of twenty-eight organizations from twenty-three states whose laws, to varying degrees, deprive legal equality to LGBT people.
Thanks to everyone working with HRC Utah and our partners to make the Beehive State a better place for all Utahns to live, work and raise families.
- HRC Deputy Field Director Jeremy Pittman with the staff of Equality Utah and leaders from the HRC Utah steering committee
- Utah State Capitol