Salt Lake County mulls anti-discrimination laws

Salt Lake County mulls anti-discrimination laws

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Salt Lake County Council on Tuesday will consider anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gays.

Council Chairman Joe Hatch said Utah's most populous county is poised to follow Salt Lake City's lead in banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment.

"You may not agree with gay marriage. You may not agree with someone's lifestyle," Hatch told the Salt Lake Tribune.

But most would agree a person's sexual orientation "should not deny (anyone) the basic rights of a home, a shelter and a job," the Democrat added.

Councilman David Wilde said he expects all his Republican colleagues to vote for the ordinances.

Wilde said he voted against domestic partnership benefits because of "its implications against traditional marriage."

"These laws, though, ensure that people are not discriminated against because of their inclinations, and I plan to vote for it," he told the Deseret News.

The rules would affect 170,000 residents living in unincorporated areas of the county, including Magna, Kearns and Millcreek townships.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has endorsed the measures as protecting people's right to work and have a roof over their heads.

The ordinances would exempt religious organizations, businesses with fewer than 15 employees and some small landlords.

A poll released in late November showed 69 percent of Utahns think state lawmakers and Gov. Gary Herbert should push to pass statewide anti-discrimination laws to protect gays.

The Deseret News/KSL TV poll of 408 Utahns came after the Salt Lake City Council passed ordinances banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment.

In the poll, just 28 percent opposed an anti-discrimination proposal.

The poll was conducted Nov. 19-23 by Dan Jones & Associates. It has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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