By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com February 04 2012 4:10 PM ET
A bill to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Utah was tabled by a state Senate committee Friday, ending its chances of passing this year.
After a 90-minute hearing before a capacity crowd, the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee voted 4-2 to table the bill, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Democratic senator Ben McAdams (pictured), its sponsor, expressed disappointment but said the hearing was a “huge milestone.” It marked the first time such a bill received a Senate hearing; Democrats have proposed similar measures four times previously.
Opponents of the bill raised the specter of frivolous discrimination claims and asked if an exemption for religious organizations could be expanded to include religious people, such as a landlord who may not want to rent to a gay person. McAdams responded, “That’s discrimination.”
Some legislators were also worried about a section of the bill prohibiting discrimination based on political speech or activity. McAdams said he will probably remove that provision if he brings the bill up again. The senator, who is running for Salt Lake City mayor, promised to designate another lawmaker to take over the measure if he leaves the Senate.