In a poll released today by The Salt Lake Tribune, 60 percent of Utahns surveyed support a statewide law that would prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens in the workplace. Also, 59 percent support similar protections in the housing market.
The poll also highlights the divisiveness of this issue, with 35 and 36 percent, respectively, in opposition and only 6 and 5 percent unsure. The margin for error in each poll is +/- 4 percent.
A similar poll was conducted in 2010, which showed roughly 66 percent support for the measure. The two polls, however, were conducted differently and used different questions, so the results aren’t directly comparable. Both polls, however, shared a 4 percent margin for error, meaning that the results could overlap and may have not changed at all since the 2010 poll.
Utah State Sen. Stephen Urquhart (R-St. George) has again introduced his bill to provide housing and workplace protections for Utah’s LGBT citizens. The proposal, which has been a key element of Equality Utah’s legislative agenda, advanced out of a Senate committee last year but not in time to see a floor debate before the end of the session.
The debate has become more heated this year, with a coalition of anti-gay groups including The Sutherland Institute and Utah’s Eagle Forum buying huge amounts of air-time to run ads opposing non-discrimination.
Equality Utah has supported the non-discrimination bill for the past five years in the Utah legislature, and will again continue to do so. In a recent conversation with QSalt Lake, Equality Utah’s executive director Brandie Balken reaffirmed the group’s commitment to passing the statewide protections. Balken acknowledged that there has been an impact from the advertising campaign, which she characterized as “misinformation.”
Equality Utah has begun an active grass-roots public education campaign to inform voters about the reality of the bill and the protections that it provides. Unfortunately, Equality Utah lacks the immense out-of-state financial resources being brought to bear by this anti-gay coalition. Balken stresses the importance of everyone reaching out personally and helping to create understanding regarding this issue.
If you’re interested in becoming more involved in this issue, please contact Equality Utah at 801-355-3479.