Sunday, October 11, 2009

Salt Lake City mayor unveils 2 anti-bias laws

Salt Lake City is poised to do what the Utah Legislature refused to earlier this year: Protect gay and transgender residents from discrimination.

Salt Lake Tribune reports:
On Friday, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (pictured) released two proposed ordinances that would outlaw housing and employment discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

"It's first and foremost a human-rights issue," the mayor said. "But it's also an economic-development issue." Businesses, he said, are attracted to Utah's capital because of its "progressive" reputation.

Salt Lake City would be the first Utah city to enact such protections, but more than 100 cities nationally have done so. The City Council has final say on whether to adopt the statutes and could discuss them as soon as Oct. 20.

In July, Salt Lake City's Human Rights Commission released its first major report on discrimination, documenting ways prejudice persists in the city and around Utah. "Across the state ... it's still totally legal to be fired just for being gay or transgender," said Will Carlson, Equality Utah's public-policy manager. "We're glad the mayor is stepping forward to address that at the city level."

But there already have been rumblings that proposed Salt Lake City's anti-discrimination laws could be overturned by the state's conservative Legislature. READ MORE