Utah lawmakers postpone vote on bill to allow adoption by gay couples

Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City.

Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers postponed a vote Friday night on a proposal to ensure married gay couples are treated equally as married heterosexual couples in adoptions and foster care placements.

The vote was pushed off after legislators cited worries about the late hour and concerns that some had about the measure.

Officials with the Utah attorney general’s office and state child welfare division testified in support of the bill, saying it brings Utah in line with last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

But a House judiciary committee voted 8-3 Friday evening to leave for the day without voting on the measure.

The move followed critical comments from several same-sex marriage opponents and intense questioning from the committee’s conservative chairman about the same-sex marriage ruling and who asked state officials to look at changing Utah’s law.

Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams told lawmakers that he recognized that many in Utah felt the Supreme Court ruling was a loss and that they don’t oppose same-sex marriage out of malice. Williams said the LGBT community wanted equal opportunity.

Several conservative speakers then urged lawmakers to oppose the bill, arguing that children do better in homes with heterosexual married parents.

“The law should continue to uphold the gold standard for children,” said Laura Bunker with the conservative group United Families International.

Brent Platt, the director of Utah’s child welfare agency, said the department supported the bill because it would make the state’s adoption and foster care law conform to with federal law.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, interrupted to point out that same-sex marriage is legal by case law, which means it is legal by court ruling as opposed to a law passed by Congress.

“I’m talking about the Supreme Court decision,” Platt responded.

“One decision,” Christensen said. “I’m trying to be clear.”

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