SALT LAKE CITY — The Rotunda at Utah’s Capitol building roared with music by Katy Perry and Beyoncé and cheers of support for SB100 on Wednesday, March 5.
This bill will add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of reasons business owners and landlords may not discriminate against Utahns. However, SB100 has yet to reach the floor for discussion among Utah’s legislators, and attendees of Wednesday’s rally said they are tired of being ignored.
More than 100 SB100 supporters showed up at the rally to showcase their dedication to getting this bill discussed, and eventually passed, in the legislature.
Troy Williams of Equality Utah, and Donna Wienholtz, who were both arrested for protesting at the Capitol on Feb. 10, hosted the rally.
The crowd heard from gay and transgendered Utahns, straight allies, Utah state senators and even a young teenaged Utah resident who spoke on behalf of his gay and transgendered friends.
Owen Smith, a transgendered Utahn, spoke of the struggle he endured in finding a job and even a home. Smith said he went through 16 rental agencies and eventually found himself homeless and living out of his car for nine months because the homeless shelter he attempted to stay at said “We don’t serve people like you.”
Gail Turpin, a mother of gay children, also spoke to those who attended the rally and made it clear that she believes SB100 is not a religious issue but a human rights issue.
Those who attended the rally also heard from Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, and Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, who are the champions of SB100 and have fought to get the bill heard on the floor.
“We are a … lot farther than we were 10 years ago,” Dabakis said. “(But) be patient with our legislators.”
However, according to Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Salt Lake City, legislators have decided the bill will not be discussed during this session of the Legislature.