Salt Lake City, UT & Washington, D.C. — Log Cabin Republicans commends the historic passage of SB 296, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s already existing non-discrimination protections, by Utah’s Republican-controlled House and Senate, and congratulates GOP Governor Gary Herbert for signing the bill into law tonight. The legislation, formally supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon faith) and lobbied by Log Cabin Republicans of Utah for years, included protections for religious organizations and their affiliates.
“I do believe that again, Utah is leading the way for other conservative states to demonstrate how we can enshrine, in law, our society’s basic belief in fairness and equality for all without the need to limit other rights,” Log Cabin Republicans of Utah President James Humphreys stated. “The balance struck on this legislation between religious freedom and the other rights we all share should be seen an opportunity for all states to follow. I am grateful to all who have worked so hard for inclusive passage of non-discrimination in sexual orientation and gender identity, including all of the GOP leadership in the House and Senate. I am grateful that my friend, Governor Herbert, made clear he would sign this legislation early in this session. Lastly, I believe we all benefit when we treat every person with respect and dignity, no matter our differences. The Republican party is often painted with one brush and it carries a very negative connotation with far too many people. I hope this shows that the ideals of Conservatism and the ‘Big Tent’ envisioned by so many in our party is alive and well. Today we demonstrate what true Republican principles look like in practice. I am proud to stand as a Republican today. Inclusion wins!”
Having visited the Beehive State and Governor Herbert less than two years ago, I know firsthand how hard Log Cabin Republicans of Utah President James Humphreys and his team have been working to achieve this monumental victory. The passage of this bill in Utah should show Republicans around the country that the balance between LGBT rights and religious liberty is not a zero-sum game. Likewise, advocates on the gay left would do well to see that an all-or-nothing approach to LGBT protections with no reasonable religious exemption will doom passage of any similar non-discrimination protections in GOP-controlled legislatures, be they state or federal. I’m proud of the many Republicans, common-sense LGBT advocates, and the Log Cabin Republicans of Utah who worked tirelessly to achieve this historic milestone in the reddest of red states.