Antidiscrimination…with a Twist

Something new and interesting in Utah…a bipartisan bill outlawing workplace discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, but with a twist. Salt Lake City outlawed employment discrimination against gays a couple of years ago, with LDS church support, and other Utah cities have followed. But a statewide bill failed last session.

This one is different because (1) it has a Republican co-sponsor and (2) it also outlaws workplace discrimination on grounds of political speech or activity outside the workplace (and unrelated to the job). The idea is that you don’t get fired for being gay, and you don’t get fired for supporting (or opposing) Prop 8.

The bill has support from business (the Chamber of Commerce, no less), and Equality Utah, the main gay group. The LDS church may not actively support it but will almost certainly not oppose it. An interesting question: what will conservatives do? So far, one state conservative group, something called the Sutherland Institute, which looks like a state version of the Family Research Council, has come out against. Other conservative groups/leaders have not yet been heard from, even though the bill would actually do something about complaints that gay-marriage opponents and other advocates of religious-inspired causes are scared for their jobs  because they gave $100 for Prop 8 or whatever.

I’m not naive enough to expect that anti-discrimination coverage for gays will get broad Republican support in Utah, with or without protections for anti-gay activism, religious liberty, or motherhood and apple pie. But this bill might win enough Republican support to pass. Derek Brown, the Republican co-sponsor, is a bright, attractive young guy who looks to me like the future of the party, if the party has the sense to grasp it. Hope springs eternal.

9 Comments for “Antidiscrimination…with a Twist”

  1. posted by Jorge on


    There are some people who are conservative enough to actually favor at-will employment. I am not one of them.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      If those folks who claim they are against any nondiscrimination laws really believed that, they’d introduce bills to repeal workplace nondiscrimination for everyone. Instead they use that argument to shield their own prejudice against gay people.

      • posted by BobN on

        Yeah, so much for the “conservative” opposition to anti-discrimination laws in general. This isn’t the first attempt to extend protections to political positions that they’ve proposed in recent years. I guess it’s a sign they think they’re gonna lose.

        • posted by Tom Scharbach on

          Republicans are proving to be fierce foes of marriage equality but devoted fans of non-discrimination. While pushing a bill to repeal marriage equality, Republicans re also puching New Hampshire HB 1264:

          Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, including a business owner or employee thereof, shall be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization, celebration, or promotion of a marriage and providing such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges would be a violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith. A person’s refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such person.

          Keep an eye out and you’ll see a lot more of this in other states, I suspect.

          • posted by Jorge on

            That falls squarely into the category of things only the right can be trusted to have the passion to do things about.

            In a country where we have judges incorporating Sharia law into their decisions, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be pre-emptive in stopping judicial activism.

          • posted by Tom Scharbach on

            In a country where we have judges incorporating Sharia law into their decisions …

            I’m with Christie on the Sharia law question.

            A very small number of cases in the United States have involved consideration of Sharia law.

            Almost all of the cases involved (a) interpretation of marriage agreements entered into under Sharia law, or (b) interpretations of conflict of Sharia law and US civil law with respect to contracts entered into under Sharia law, or (c) enforcement of foreign court orders in domestic law cases, or (d) interpretation of Sharia law in cases involving disputes within Islamic religious communities governed by Sharia law.

            If legal studies concerning Sharia law are accurate, Sharia law was applied in only about 25% of the cases in which the application of Sharia law was considered. That is hardly cause to start changing our laws in fear of a Sharia takeover of our judicial system.

            The application of foreign law in the United States is comes up whenever the parties involved have contracted under foreign law or a matter is governed, in whole or in part, by foreign law. The question in those cases is always how to reconcile or resolve the conflict between the applicable foreign law and US law, that is, when and to what extent to allow foreign law to determine the outcome. It has been so since the beginning of the Republic. Cases involving application of foreign law in this country go back into the early 1800’s.

            The Sharia cases are no different than any other cases involving the application of foreign law in this respect. The cases are often complex, and sometimes lead to results that are different than the results that would have obtained under US law, but the comity of law between countries is important for commerce, no less so for us than for any other country.

            Consideration of foreign law in cases that involve foreign law is not judicial activism, and no judge, to my knowledge, has ever “incorporated” Sharia law into a decision in a case that didn’t originate from Sharia law.

            So, like Christie, I think that the whole thing is a bunch of “crap”, a tempest in a teapot.

          • posted by BobN on

            As their positions on social issues become less and less popular, they more and more seek protection for harboring those beliefs.

            Cowards and hypocrites.

          • posted by Jorge on

            A very small number of cases in the United States have involved consideration of Sharia law.

            One judicial activist decision by the wrong court is enough to change the entire country.

            Most of the posters on this site don’t think very highly of the Catholic adoption agencies’ objection to being required to make gay adoptions or go out of business. Okay, fine. But this is a harm that other people in other states have every right, prerogative, and in my strong opinion, duty, to prevent.

  2. posted by TomJeffersonIII on

    –One judicial activist decision by the wrong court is enough to change the entire country.

    Of the handful of decisions that get the tossed around as ‘imposing’ Islamic law in America, they all seem to be a case where a marriage or business contract was written and both parties agreed to follow certain principles of Islamic law…not much different if say, tow evangelical getting married Christians agreed to follow certain Christian principles in their marriage…..

    Personally, I can see a good argument to be made that sexual orientation based anti-discrimination laws should probably exempt faith based groups. This is basically how things operate in Minnesota and have since the early 1990s.

    If the Catholic Church adoption agency only wants to put kids in ‘Christian’ households I think that is stupid, but probably should not be illegal…unless they are essentially the only option or they want to take public monies.

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