Senator Stephen Urquhart of Washington County is the champion of our nondiscrimination bill. S.B. 262, Housing and Employment Antidiscrimination Amendments, has been released and has been sent to the Senate Rules Committee. With so much attention around our bill, we’d like to take a moment to explain exactly what the bill does and does not do, who is impacted, and why the bill is needed.
- While S.B. 262 prevents discrimination in housing and employment by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to existing characteristics already protected under state law, it does not create special protections for gay and transgender people. Sexual orientation and gender identity are characteristics we all have. All Utahns should have access to fairness in the most basic necessities: a roof over our heads and a job to support ourselves and the people we love.
- S.B. 262 does not add additional burden to business. The bill is consistent with protections for other characteristics and only applies to property owners with four or more rental units and businesses with 15 or more employees. A statewide bill simplifies the process for everyone and allows for a faster resolution to potential claims of discrimination. It also allows people who bring a claim to file with the EEOC; something people cannot do under the local ordinances.
- This bill is about housing and employment protections and does not challenge Utah’s existing constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, civil unions, and domestic partners.
Passage of S.B. 262 is an economic issue. In Utah, we value self-reliance, hard work, and determination. Gay and transgender Utahns who are evicted or fired unfairly struggle to provide for themselves and their families. Moreover, businesses looking to grow or relocate to Utah want to know the state values its entire workforce. Many of the states top companies- those we laud for their impact on our economy- favor the passage of a statewide bill. This includes CHG, Ancestry.com, eBay, and 1-800-CONTACTS.
We’ve worked hard to get this bill right. We’ve met with all the stakeholders, we’ve listened to our friends and our opposition, and now we are ready to run with our bill. But we have a lot more work to do before this bill is the law. We are committed to preventing discrimination in housing and employment and we will not rest until these protections apply to all Utahns. Stay tuned for more updates.
Working together for a fair and just Utah,