As the world’s front runner in many categories, I’m afraid that the US also leads the race in marginalizing many groups of people. Utah is late to the train of reversing this fact. Rep. Sandra Hollins testified to the collective shame that ought to be felt in dealing with this in 2015. I heard the word “historic” spoken all too many times with regards to this legislation; these kinds of rights should already be in history.
It’s both groundbreaking and troubling that the LDS Church must co-draft a bill like SB296 before it can be passed at the state level. Although there is much anticipation around Governor Herbert’s signature, I can’t help but feel that ultimately the Church is the one signing this bill into law. So much for separation of Church & State.
Even with Elder Christofferson’s endorsement, fifteen legislators still opposed SB296. And of the lawmakers who voted in support, their testimonies tell the story of only a recent reversal in sentiments toward the LGBT community. Although disconcerting, we must also embrace the slow and tardy changes. After all, we are moving in the right direction.
It’s easy to be cynical, but for now the new legislation (excluding SB297, perhaps) should be celebrated. Its passage seemed a distant point on the horizon only a short time ago. Until Utah cuts the religious cord, we must embrace and work with the Church to effect the changes we want to see.