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Salt Lake City bans sexual orientation discrimination with Mormon support

[JURIST] The Salt Lake City Council [official website] has passed an a ordinance [text, PDF] prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) [church website] gave its support. The ordinance, passed unanimously on Tuesday, makes Salt Lake City the first city in Utah to outlaw such discrimination. Michael Otterson, a Mormon Church official, said [remarks] that the church supported the legislation because it "does not do violence to the institution of marriage." Mormon endorsement of the ordinance was especially surprising given the church's support and funding of Proposition 8 [NYT report] in California, which banned same-sex marriage after it had been approved [JURIST reports] by the state Supreme Court. Opinions on the church's endorsement of the Salt Lake City ordinance varied, with groups praising [NYT report] and condemning [Sutherland Institute release] the move.

The US Congress is currently considering legislation [S 1584 materials; HR 3017 materials] to ban workplace discrimination motivated by an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identification. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, if passed, would protect employees from discriminatory hiring and firing practices, and from segregation or classification on the basis of sexual preference or gender identity. The bill would be the first federal legislation aimed at ensuring workplace equality for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer (GLBTQ). The bill was introduced in the Senate [JURIST report] in August and in the House in June.

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