Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on January 29, 2010
SLC – In an announcement from Capitol Hill today, Utah legislators announced that in return for ultra-conservatives law-makers not passing a law outlawing all non-discrimination ordinances state wide, pro-human legislators will agree to not run any gay rights bills this year.
Since Salt Lake City and County passed their historic ordinances this past year banning discrimination against LGBT people in housing or employment, some nut-job elected officials (spurned on by Paul Mero and Gayle Ruzicka) have been pushing a “pre-emptive” strike against the gay community by making those laws and any others like them illegal. But now after intense negotiations from some of the heroes in the legislature like Senator Ben McAdams and Representative Christine Johnson, the legislature has agreed to a two-party “stand down.” This means that while Buttars and his stooges will agree to not pass the pre-emptive bills, our side also agrees to not try to pass any gay rights bills this year.
But where does that leave us? Doesn’t that just mean we will face the same fight next year and we’ve just pushed it off for now? Apparently one of the stipulations of the stand down is that over the next year the state will launch a program similar to the what the Human Rights Commission ran for Salt Lake City, a comprehensive report on whether basic protections for Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender are needed.
So will this be a good thing? The bill is being co-sponsored by Representative Christine Johnson and Senator Stephenson, two unlikely partners as they sit on far opposites of their ideals. The committee will allow “for some breathing room, and to prevent any rash decisions of either side” they say. The 3 main LGBT bills this year were Johnson’s anti-discrimination bill, Senator McAdams Wrongful Death bill, and Rep Chavez-Houck’s Adoption legislation. Although unfortunately, all three were almost guaranteed to fail yet again.
“This will provide for some learning experience” Christine Johnson says, “I’m sick of seeing my bills shot down in committee every year and perhaps this will provide some insight as to why.” But what happens if the committee comes back next year and says that the non-discrimination ordinances are necessary but Majority leaders like Chris Buttars still quashes them? “Well that will open up things to a lot of class lawsuits” says Rep Johnson, “because at that point all the evidence is there and they won’t have any legs to stand on to shoot the [bills] down.”