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Big Web Companies Back Antidiscrimination Bill in Utah

Big Web Companies Back Antidiscrimination Bill in Utah

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Big Utah businesses including Ancestry.com, eBay, and 1-800-Contacts called on state lawmakers Thursday to pass an antidiscrimination law that prevents employers from firing anyone just because they are gay.

They say the lack of guaranteed protection from discrimination creates the perception among potential LGBT employees that they aren't safe or welcomed in Utah, according to news reports from a forum held at the state capitol.

Leaders from the businesses, which each have large employee bases in the state, were taking part in an event sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber -- which included implementing the new law in its 2012 Policy Guide, released this week.

But not all the lawmakers in the audience were immediately receptive to the message.

"You are, in fact, picking a special activity and creating a class of people out of that," said Scott Jenkins, the Senate majority leader, according to video from Fox 13 News. "I can't fire somebody now because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. I don't know what that is, that's the point. I don't know what it is. And unless they announce it or tell me about it or bring it on to me or put it on their job application, or some way inform me of it, I don't even know what that is."

State senator Ben McAdams, a Democrat from Salt Lake City, is sponsoring the antidiscrimination bill, which is modeled after an ordinance passed in Salt Lake City and then emulated by 11 other local governments in Utah.

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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.