As the Utah legislative leaders consider a moratorium on LGBT-related legislation, worried that potential ‘animus’ in discussions of the bills would hurt the state’s efforts to overturn Judge Shelby’s ruling that prohibiting same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Utah Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser (R-Salt Lake) and Rep. Jacob Anderegg (R-Lehi) demonstrated exactly why Sen. Urquhart’s non-discrimination bill, SB100, is needed. Earlier in the day, Anderegg was erroneously listed as the sponsor of SB100.
This morning, Anderegg tweeted that he is “strongly considering a gender identitfying [sic] change to use the open womens [sic]” restroom as the private “Men’s” bathroom in the House office building is occupied.
To which Neiderhauser replied, “First supporting SB100, now switching your gender identity? Just can’t keep up with you. You’re a new man! erm…woman…”
UPDATE: Neiderhauser later tweeted that an intern had sent the tweet, and not him. He offered to meet with any trans* people and friends who were offended by the remark.
Anderegg tweeted, “I sincerely apologize. My earlier comments regarding Transgender issues was totally inappropriate. I own it. And I apologize.” He further states, “As always, when I find I have put my foot in my mouth it is always helpful to work to learn from it. I intend to.”
SB100 would add gender identity and sexual orientation to Utah’s current non-discrimination code, prohibiting employers of more than 15 or landlords with more than 4 units from using those as a basis for making employment and housing decisions. Many people, including legislators, have argued against SB100 in the past, claiming such protections are unnecessary.
According to Equality Utah, 43 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual survey respondents and 67 percent of trans* respondents reported they have experienced discrimination in employment.
As Anderegg and Neiderhauser’s tweets indicate, discrimination against our trans* citizens isn’t as out of the question as many would have us believe.
Equality Utah has proposed statewide legislation to protect LGBT Utahns from workplace and housing discrimination in every legislative session since 2008.