News (USA)

Utah officials could refuse to perform marriages under new bill

Utah officials could refuse to perform marriages under new bill

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal that would allow Utah government employees to refuse to marry same-sex couples passed its first hurdle Friday.

Utah-flagThe bill, which was unanimously approved by a Senate committee, would allow officials to opt out of marrying same-sex couples, but only if they give up their right to marry all couples.

It would also require every county to have a designated person on hand to perform marriages, even if the county clerk opts out.

Bill sponsor Sen. Stuart Adams, a Layton Republican, also helped negotiate a landmark anti-discrimination bill that won the endorsement of both the Mormon church and LGBT activists.

Adams said Friday that with both bills, he wants to “do what’s right, do what’s fair, do what’s balanced.”

Representatives from the LGBT advocacy organization Equality Utah and the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns with certain parts of the marriage legislation, but told lawmakers that they were positive that Adams had good intentions.

Article continues below

Equality Utah’s Troy Williams said some sections of the marriage bill appear to allow discrimination against LGBT individuals in certain contexts, such as at religious hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Adams said he has addressed those concerns in a revised version of the bill.

The legislation also states that religious organizations do not have to recognize marriages that violate their beliefs.

Last week, the GOP-controlled state Senate gave a speedy approval to a landmark anti-discrimination bill that protects gay and transgender people from discrimination while also protecting religious rights.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Don't forget to share:

Colorado House gives initial OK on bill to ban gay conversion therapy on minors

Previous article

Planet Fitness revokes membership over repeated complaints of transgender policy

Next article