No Common Ground: First of Five Gay Rights Bills in Utah Killed
The first piece of legislation presented in Equality Utah's 'Common Ground Initiative', a bill that "would have amended state law so that financial dependents -- besides spouses, parents and children -- could sue if a breadwinner suffers a wrongful death," suffered a quick defeat in the Utah Senate judiciary committee yesterday:
"A standing-room-only crowd listened to nearly two hours of testimony before the committee, led by Republican Sen. Chris Buttars, voted 4-2 against sending the measure to the Senate floor. Only McCoy, who is openly gay, and fellow Salt Lake City Democrat Ross Romero voted for the bill. Buttars, who was lobbied by a group of gay and bisexual activists at his West Jordan home earlier this month, didn't comment on McCoy's proposal during the meeting."
The Salt Lake Tribune reports: " Equality Utah's drive -- crafted in response to statements the LDS Church has made that it does not oppose some rights for same-sex couples -- includes creating a statewide domestic-partner registry and protecting someone from being fired or evicted for being gay. Sen. Scott McCoy's SB32 would have amended state law so that financial dependents -- besides spouses, parents and children -- could sue if a breadwinner suffers a wrongful death. The measure would have benefited same-sex couples, but also other nontraditional households, such as one in which a grandmother relies on a grandson for financial support."
The LDS statement, released in response to the uproar following the passage of Proposition 8, said that the Mormon church "does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights or probate rights."
Tuesday's vote cast doubt on five additional forthcoming bills in the 'Common Ground Initiative' legislation. Buttass has spearheaded anti-gay initiatives in Utah in the past, including legislation allowing schools to eliminate gay-straight alliances and other groups promoting tolerance.
Hundreds of supporters of the 'Common Ground Initiative' marched in Salt Lake City over the weekend ahead of the legislative session. Watch the report on that, AFTER THE JUMP...