Utah governor: Legislation to protect gay rights must also protect religious liberties

Gov. Gary Herbert (R-Utah) Rick Bowmer, AP

Gov. Gary Herbert (R-Utah)Rick Bowmer, AP

Gov. Gary Herbert (R-Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert used his sixth annual State of the State address Wednesday night to call on Utah lawmakers to ensure the state protects religious rights in the upcoming legislative session.

Herbert said any legislation to protect gay rights this year must also protect religious liberties. His comments follow a national appeal made Tuesday by the Mormon church for a similar balance.

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The church’s announcement made huge waves in Utah, where the governor and most lawmakers are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Several bills addressing gay rights and religious rights are pending in the Legislature.

Herbert said he’s confident the state’s elected officials can work with religious groups and the LGBT community to find a policy that treats all people with dignity and respect.

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