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Year in review

January

As the Utah Legislature launched its new session, Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake City, introduced an anti-bias prohibiting housing and employment discrimination against on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.  The new bill also had a new sponsor: freshman Rep. Derek Brown, a Cottonwood Heights Re­publican.

Elsewhere, Harrisville, Utah became the 14th municipality in Utah to pass an anti-bias ordinance. The city council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance.

February 

A bill supporting abstinence-only educa­tion and banning the advocacy of contraception and homosexuality cleared the Utah Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, also allows schools to opt out of sex education and not offer courses. After extreme public pressure, Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed the bill.

In Logan, a group providing support to families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans­gender people started meeting regularly in Cache Valley. The group eventually became Utah’s fifth branch of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

March

The first Utah Gay and Lesbian Business Expo featured guest speakers, break-out sessions, business to nonprofit relations, networking and much more. Dozens of people gathered over the weekend to show the business strength and savvy of Utah’s queer community.

In California, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal court ruling declaring California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

In a move to show Utah Valley University administration that the student body supports adopting a nondiscrimination policy that includes protections for queers, dozens of students and faculty attended a Ral­ly for Equality. The protest comes after an email asking students to vote against an openly gay candidate for school office circulated the campus.

April

Springdale, Utah’s Town Council unanimously passed an ordinance protecting against bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and housing on April 11.

A man attempted to force his way into Club Try-Angles. Salt Lake City Police dispatchers re­ceived multiple calls throughout the day about a man carrying a rifle case and trespassing on private property in the area of Club Try-Angles. Donald Bickell, 51, tried to enter the bar carrying the rifle case, police said. As he was turned away by the doorman, Matt Mulliner, Bickell put the rifle case up to Mulliner’s face and told him, “I am about to end your life,” Mulliner said.

Utah’s only open­ly gay legislator, Brian Doughty, lost his bid for House District 26 to Angela Romero after he was re­districted out of House District 30.

May

More than 100 people gathered in Ogden for a community gathering after the suicide of a young gay man for a candlelight vigil and to discuss the harms of bullying.

Barack Obama voiced his support for mar­riage equality for all Americans.  In a reversal of opinion based on what he called an “evolution,” Obama said conversations with his staff members, gay and lesbian service members, and with his family led him to back a platform of full marriage equality.

“At a certain point I’ve con­cluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get mar­ried,” Obama said.

A crowd of 400 gathered in the Southwestern-themed commu­nity of Kayenta in Ivins, Utah, calling for an Equality Evolution. Hosted by Equality Utah, the banquet supported Southern Utah’s lesbian, gay, bisex­ual and transgender community.

June

With 125 parade entries and more money raised than last year, the Utah Pride Festival was touted as a success. Approximately 5,000 people marched along 200 South in the Utah Pride Parade and tens of thou­sands partied on Washington Square in downtown Salt Lake City at the Utah Pride Festival. This year’s parade made national headlines as hun­dreds of current and former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints followed Utah Pride Parade Grand Marshal Dustin Lance Black at the head of the procession.

A picture book depicting a family with two moms was removed from school library shelves in Davis County after more than 20 parents complained. A panel discussion was hosted about the decision to remove In Our Mother’s House.

Former Log Cabin Republican president Melvin Nimer lost the Salt Lake County Council prima­ry race to Joe Demma.

July

Support of marriage equality is up seven points and support of civil unions is up 18 points in Utah since 2004, according to a new survey conducted by the Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. While 72 percent of Utahns still oppose same-sex marriage, 43 percent support civil unions and 28 percent support full mar­riage rights.

The widely publicized study that seemed to raise doubts about the parenting abilities of gay couples was severely flawed and had many disqualifying problems, according to a new audit by the same journal that published it. An analysis of the study will be printed in the November issue of the journal, Social Science Research. The article points out conflicts of interest among the reviews and states that “scholars who should have known better failed to re­cuse themselves from the review process.”

August

After Utah’s NBC affiliate, KSL, refused to air its new situational comedy about a gay couple, The New Normal, CW30 announced it will air the show. KSL is owned and operated by the for-profit branch of the Mormon Church and has elected not to air other shows, including Saturday Night Live and Playboy Club.

The director of The Matrix and Cloud Atlas is the first major Hollywood director to publicly come out as transgender. Lana Wachowski revealed she has transitioned while promoting her new film starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

Throngs of supporters packed Chick-fil-A locations around the nation, on a day designated by Christian activists to support the restaurant owner’s anti-gay stances.

September

The 11th annual Equality Utah Allies Dinner marked more than a decade of growth and accomplishment. The sold-out dinner attracted an estimated 2,000 people. This year’s honorees included former Utah Gov. Jon Hunts­man and his wife, Mary Kaye for their outspoken support of civil unions in Utah.

People in Sanpete County held an open house to begin assessing the need for, and potential viability of, a PFLAG branch in the area. Dozens of people gathered to discuss the purpose and mission of the group.

More than 100 people gathered in Jordan Park to cel­ebrate inclusion and individual­ity as part of the second annual Pink Dot Utah. The celebration included performances by local bands, speeches by Mormon Church members and culmi­nated with the group gathering together to form a large dot.

October

Shortly after decrying the bullying of gays and lesbians, Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks called same-sex parenting a “social experiment” and said it left children at a disadvantage.

“Children need others to speak for them,” Oaks said. “And they need decision-makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests.… Children are also victimized by marriages that do not occur.”

A Kamas man was arrested for an assault on a gay couple and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has charged him with hate crime charges. Travis Gentry, 40, was arrested and booked into the Summit County jail.

November

After Sen. Ben McAdams won the Salt Lake County mayoral race four gay Utahns announced plans to run for his soon-to-be-vacated state senate seat. Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis, Rep. Brian Doughty, Will Carlson and Weston Clark all an­nounced plans to run for Senate District 2.

In celebration of Transgender Awareness Month, the Utah Pride Center and Trans­gender Education Advocates of Utah hosted a series of activities through the month of November.

December

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases concerning gay marriage. The justices will consider California’s ban on gay marriage and the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. The hearings will not be held until spring 2013.

The Mormon Church launched a website — mormonsandgays.org — that detailed beliefs about homosexuality. The site is a compilation of teachings and was not a reversal of policy.

 

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