Utah Governor Opens 'Door of Communication' with Gay Groups
Utah Governor Gary Herbert met with gay groups for the first time since his statement in August that he did not believe LGBT people deserved protection from discrimination in the way that others do for race, religion, or gender.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports: "In separate meetings, Equality Utah and the Foundation for Reconciliation spoke with the governor about discrimination faced by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The foundation, which promotes 'reconciliation' between Mormons and the LGBT community, urged Herbert to create a task force that would study instances of such discrimination and make policy recommendations to address the issue. Peter Danzig, a spokesman for the group, said the governor agreed that the lack of state numbers about discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity makes it difficult to gauge the scope of the problem. But Herbert did not commit to a task force, Danzig said. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is crafting an anti-discrimination ordinance after a Human Rights Commission documented the problem in the capital and elsewhere in Utah. Will Carlson, Equality Utah's public-policy manager, considered his political-advocacy group's meeting an 'introduction' that opened the 'door of communication' with the governor. Carlson expects the meeting to be the first of many with Herbert."
Said Herbert in August: "We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't."