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Pro-Gay Utah Bill
Voted Down In Senate Committee

Pro-Gay Utah Bill
Voted Down In Senate Committee

The first in a series of LGBT rights bills to be introduced in the Utah legislature has already died, reports the The Salt Lake Tribune. In a 4-2 vote Tuesday, the senate judiciary committee voted against sending a bill to the senate floor that would have amended state law to allow financial dependents (beyond spouses, parents, and children) to file wrongful death suits if their main provider was killed.

The first in a series of LGBT rights bills to be introduced in the Utah legislature has already died, reports the The Salt Lake Tribune. In a 4-2 vote Tuesday, the senate judiciary committee voted against sending a bill to the Senate floor that would have amended state law to allow financial dependents (beyond spouses, parents, and children) to file wrongful death suits if their main provider was killed.

Analysts said the bill, introduced by out senator Scott McCoy, was the least controversial of the pro-LGBT package of five bills called the Common Ground Initiative -- a push developed by Equality Utah after leaders of the Utah-based Latter-day Saints Church said they did not oppose some rights for same-sex couples. Members of the LDS Church famously contributed an estimated $20-plus million to pass Proposition 8, the California measure that stripped gays of the right to marry.

The early legislative defeat could augur poorly for the rest of the series. "The very fact that this didn't even get out of senate committee ... is clearly a bad sign for other parts of this initiative," University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank told the Tribune.

Other pieces of the initiative aim to create a statewide domestic-partner registry and employment nondiscrimination protections for LGBT workers.

During the two-hour committee meeting, legislators and onlookers heard speakers both for and against the measure. Opponents said the bill would be a slippery slope toward granting gay couples full marriage rights, even though the state amended its constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Several gay people and straight allies testified for the bill, including a former U.S. marine.

"I'm very invested in this country, which I love and put on a uniform for and was willing to give my life to defend," said Jeff Key, reports the Tribune. "If you put yourself on the opposing side of allowing the liberty and freedom that this country stands for, then you've put yourself on the wrong side of history."

McCoy plans to make another push for the legislation in 2010. (Advocate.com)

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