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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Senate Committee shot down a bill that would have created a state-wide anti-discrimination law.
Senator Ben McAdams, who sponsored the bill, says the gay and transgendered community needs protection against discrimination where they work and live. But Senate committee's concerns over employer rights put the brakes on the plan.
Fourteen cities across Utah have adopted similar anti- discrimination ordinances and according to McAdams, they're working. People crowded the Senate committee chambers demanding equality for the Gay and Transgendered community.
"I'm just tired of being discriminated against," said Erin Edgar, who supports equal rights. "It's completely ridiculous that we have to be here and stand foot, and say hey, ‘I'm a person too.' "
Jeremy Cunningham, another supporter of the bill, says he was terminated because a supervisor found out he was gay.
We're observing across the nation that in courtrooms and classrooms, that sexual rights are being protected over religious rights.
–- Laura Bunker
"Imagine living in a world where your religion, where age or your race would come in to play," Cunningham said. "On the day I was fired, that was my world."
Those who opposed the bill made their opinions known, too. The committee tabled the bill in a vote 4-2, and Laura Bunker, with United Families Utah spoke out against McAdam's bill saying that a statewide anti-discrimination law could threaten traditional families and marriage.
"We're observing across the nation that in courtrooms and classrooms, that sexual rights are being protected over religious rights," Bunker said.
But McAdams says this statewide protection is long overdue, and that according to polls, more than 75 percent of Utahns support the idea.
"This has proven to be a success on the city level, not only providing protection against discrimination, but also of bringing a healing dialogue to the cities that have passed this," McAdams said.
Will Young, a supporter of the bill, feel it's a basic human right to be provided safety.
"It seems ridiculous that we're still having to fight such a simple battle like this -- just simple protection -- being able to work and feel comfortable at work."