Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fighting for Equality and 'Common Grounds' in Utah

I had the pleasure of traveling to Utah last summer, visiting Salt Lake City and other towns in the region. Aside from being a very beautiful state, I was surprised by the presence of a larger LGBT community that I had anticipated. I was also struck by the resiliency of the Utah LGBT community.

Recently, the "Common Grounds Initiative" - a series of four bills designed to expand the rights of LGBT Utahans - has been vigorously supported by groups such as Equality Utah.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports today that one key component of the Common Grounds Initiative failed last week, but that hasn't stopped Equality Utah from pushing public awareness and fighting for the remaining parts of the initiative.

At stake now are "remaining bills would create a statewide domestic-partner registry, outlaw employment and housing discrimination against gay and transgender Utahans, and repeal -- if voters signed on -- the portion of Amendment 3 that forbids civil unions."

Stay tuned for future news on the outcomes of these bills in Utah. As many PFLAGers know, public awareness, visibility and education are key in gaining public support even in areas that seem hard for LGBT people to gain inroads and public support.

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