Gay Rights Protesters Block Doors at Utah Capitol

Monday Feb 10, 2014

About 15 protesters blocked the doors to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's main office Monday to call for a statewide anti-discrimination law that protects sexual or gender orientation.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers, which provide Capitol security, stationed near the protesters and moved them aside to allow people to enter the office.

Organizer and Equality Utah volunteer Donna Weinholtz told The Salt Lake Tribune that demonstrators are asking Herbert to issue an executive order passing the anti-discrimination measure.

St. George Republican Sen. Steve Urquhart is sponsoring legislation this year that bars discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in housing and employment.

Urquhart said last week his bill appears dead this year as Republican leaders at the Legislature have decided to avoid bills that could impact the state's gay marriage case.

While the protesters were stationed outside the governor's office Monday, Urquhart spoke to the group and offered to discuss the issue again in a closed door meeting Tuesday among Senate Republicans.

The group said they wouldn't leave Monday until lawmakers agreed to hold a hearing on the bill, the Deseret News reported.

Herbert's spokesman Marty Carpenter said in a statement that the governor's office appreciates citizens voicing their opinion. He urged anyone concerned to contact legislators because the bill remains in the Utah Senate.

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