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1st Southern Utah town passes non-discrimination ordinance

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Apr. 18, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.

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SPRINGDALE, Washington County — The Springdale town council has passed a nondiscrimination ordinance, making it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

“You’re welcome here, everybody,” said Town Councilman Mark Chambers. “We don’t want any discrimination for anybody.”

Chambers runs the Under The Eaves Bed and Breakfast in town. When he and his partner moved to Springdale 2 ½ ago, he said they felt welcomed right away. “It’s a great place,” he said.

So when he brought up the idea to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance for the town, he wasn't surprised that it passed. But he was shocked that Springdale was the first southern Utah town to do so.

He believes these are just basic rights everybody is entitled to.

Springdale Mayor Pat Cluff feels her town has always accepted everyone, and she said the ordinance was just a way of making it official. The ordinance passed on April 11. It prohibits discrimination in housing and employment based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

"I think it's a good statement,” she said. “I think in Springdale it perhaps maybe isn't needed, but maybe it is needed everywhere."

The state has a law prohibiting discrimination based on religion, national origin, race or sex.

In 2009, Salt Lake City became the first city in Utah to make it illegal to discriminate in both housing and employment, based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Since then, Salt Lake County, Park City, Summit County, Taylorsville, West Valley City, Murray, Midvale, Moab, Grand County, Ogden, Logan, Alta and Harrisville have passed similar ordinances.

This year a legislative committee tabled a bill that would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing statewide because of a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or political views.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc


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