HRC nationwide bus tour kicks off in Salt Lake City

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The Human Rights Campaign national ‘On the Road to Equality’ bus tour promoting equal rights will kick off in Utah on Aug. 12 and visit 17 cities in 11 states over 12 weeks. The bus tour will focus on areas where there are no state-wide nondiscrimination laws.

The tour will feature educational seminars, legal documents for families and community forums in an attempt to raise more awareness about the difficulties members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community often face.

On Aug. 12, the bus will stop at the Utah Pride Center, 355 N. 300 W. in Salt Lake City, for a meet and greet with HRC President Joe Solmonese and other officials. Then join the bus for refreshments and take part in the ‘On the Road to Equality’ video.

Later that night at Club Sound, 579 W. 200 S. in Salt Lake City, Tony-nominated Broadway star Gavin Creel will perform and headline the dance party. Enter for a chance to win tickets to Equality Utah’s annual Allies Dinner and raise funds for the Utah Pride Center.

“We are in the midst of a cultural tipping point on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and our job is to push the scale as far and as fast as we can toward fairness,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese in a press release. “The tour will serve as a powerful visibility tool and support the work of creating real and lasting change in these communities.”

The tour announcement comes with the release of a recent poll that indicates 51 percent of Americans support full marriage equality for same-sex couples. However, in the Midwest and South, that number drops to 43 percent, which is why the tour will be focusing on those areas. Nationally, 79 percent of Americans support protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and housing. And 73 percent of Americans support anti-bullying measures.

“The poll shows Americans believe in fairness but also that we have a long way to go in realizing that goal,” said Solmonese in the press release. “Our efforts on the road this summer and fall are a first step in bridging the gap between where LGBT people are now and achieving the dream of equality to which the vast majority of Americans aspire.”

The tour schedule is as follows:
Aug. 12-14         Salt Lake City, UT
Aug. 19-21         Omaha & Lincoln, NE
Aug. 26-28         Lawrence, KS & Kansas City, MO
Sept. 1-5             New Orleans, LA
Sept. 9-11           Austin & College Station, TX
Sept. 16-18         Little Rock, AR
Sept. 23-25         Louisville & Lexington, KY
Sept. 30-Oct 3    Washington, DC
Oct. 7-9              Atlanta, GA
Oct. 14-16          Birmingham & Tuscaloosa, AL
Oct. 21-23          Jacksonville, FL
Oct. 28-30          Orlando, FL

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One Comment

  1. The news release published by the Human Rights Campaign is misleading. While Utah doesn’t enjoy laws which prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation in employment and housing, it does enjoy laws which: 1) require the state to collect and publish statistics about hate crimes which are based on the sexual orientation of the victim as required by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (Utah Code Section 53-10-202), and 2) prohibit public-school educators from asking or requiring a student disclose the sexual orientation of the student or the student’s family members (Utah Code Section 53A-13-302).

    As state agencies, many institutions of higher education enjoy administrative rules which prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation in employment and housing.

    As state political subdivisions, many counties and municipalities enjoy ordinances which prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation in employment, housing and government services.

    These laws, rules and ordinances affect most state residents and visitors. Contrary to the suggestion by the HRC news release, Utahns are far from unprotected in these and other areas of law. While I welcome HRC to join us in expanding the state protections against discrimination in employment and housing, the group would do well to acknowledge that its work is in addition to our own hard work over the decades to provide some protections for ourselves.

    Having been friends with the late founder of HRC, I am aware of how HRC and most other Washington-based groups have a long history of telling gay Utahns how we are victims that only they can save. Such patronizing has been endemic with these groups (when they aren’t calling us one of the fly-over states). A nod to our accomplishments would have been a better first step for HRC than telling us what we must do to be saved.

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