A look back at one of the most hotly debated issues of this legislative session.
The LDS Church and the Utah state government came together to draft bills that would protect the rights of religious institutions and LGBT individuals.
LDS Church leaders announced their support of legislation to protect both LGBT and religious rights at a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 27. The press conference took place on the second day of the Utah Legislature’s 2015 session.
“Today, state legislatures across the nation are being asked to strengthen laws related to LGBT issues in the interest of ensuring fair access to housing and employment,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve. “The leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on record as favoring such measures.”
Two LDS Church Apostles, members of Utah’s LGBT community and key lawmakers announced what some are calling a “historic” compromise to balance religious liberty rights with non-discrimination protection for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals.
Modifications to the Utah Anti-Discrimination Act and the Utah Fair Housing Act passed the Senate in a 23-5 vote after being considered through an expedited process.
Although the bill passed with an overwhelming majority, several senators rose to speak about the bill, which has received support from LGBT leaders and local religious leaders, including an endorsement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
WASHINGTON — Utah’s path to newly passed legislation that combines LGBT rights and religious freedom might be more of a template for the nation than the law itself.
The passage of two state bills that have drawn national attention didn’t just happen over a 45-day legislative session that ended last Thursday. The new laws were the result of overcoming a rift that went much deeper and farther back than that.
As conflicts over gay rights (including marriage) and religious conscience proliferate around the country and in the courts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January proffered a less confrontational — though still controversial — approach, proposing a tandem expansion of anti-discrimination protections for gays along with religious-liberty protections for the faithful. That announcement sparked an effort in the Utah legislature to pass a statewide gay-rights law with both LGBT and Mormon support.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Utah’s new law extending employment and workplace protections to LGBT people and conscience protections to individuals, churches and faith-based associations extends an olive branch to both groups, even as it misses one key sticking point.