Monday, September 27, 2010

Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 30

The next meeting will be:
Thursday, Sept. 30
5:30 p.m.
Room 314 JRCB on BYU campus
We will be making specific assignments at the meeting. If you want something to do, but can't make the meeting, e-mail me at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sample letter

Right now we're trying to establish community support as we move forward with the anti-discrimination ordinances. One of the best things you can do right now to help is to contact businesses, organizations and local leaders and ask them to write a letter of support.

Here is a generic sample letter of support.

This is just to give you an idea of what we need. Everyone should write their own letters from their own perspective and unique experience. Once you get someone to commit to write a letter of support, let me know at so we can coordinate efforts. Good luck!

New online petition

We've just set up a new online petition. If you're in Utah Valley, please follow the link and sign it. Spread the word.

How would the ordinances affect BYU-approved housing?

In our last meeting, many people wondered exactly how the proposed anti-discrimination housing ordinance would affect BYU on-campus housing and BYU-approved off-campus housing. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly supports the ordinances, which makes one assume that there shouldn’t be any intractable conflicts in that regard. Just to be safe, however, I dug into the code and here’s what I came up with:

BYU on-campus housing = completely exempt

BYU-approved off-campus housing = exempt when renting to BYU students and following BYU policy

Interested in the details? Then read on.

First off, there is a broad exception for religious organizations as well as educational institutions that would certainly include anything on BYU campus. The proposed housing ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, would not affect BYU housing in any way.

There is also an exception for landlords who contract with BYU to provide approved off-campus housing. In housing complexes where students and non-students live, the ordinance would apply only to the non-students. Another important point is that off-campus landlords will only be exempt if they follow BYU policies and don’t go beyond the terms of the BYU honor code.

The BYU honor code reads, “One's stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.”

This means that in BYU-approved off-campus housing students would be protected from eviction under the ordinance based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity as long as they follow the standards described in the honor code.

Some have also asked what would happen to landlords who do not contract with BYU, but wish to emulate the BYU-approved rental agreements and rules. The ordinance would fully apply to them. Of more immediate concern, however, is the fact that Utah state fair housing laws already apply, which prohibit discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, source of income, or disability.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amazing first meeting

Last week we had an amazing first meeting. About 30 people showed up for a standing-room only discussion on what we can do to get anti-discrimination ordinances passed in Utah Valley. I want to thank everybody who showed up. It was truly inspiring to see so many people dedicated to equality.

We talked about getting community support for the ordinances in the form of letters from businesses, local leaders and institutions. If anybody has any connections, now is the time to use them. You can download the ordinances from this site as well as read a brief history of the effort. You can also contact me at any time for moral support or whatever else you might need. As you get businesses, local leaders, and institutions to commit to supporting the anti-discrimination ordinances, contact me through this blog or at so we can keep track.

Two important things:

1. We're on Facebook! Join the group and share it with all your friends. Even if you're outside of the Valley, you can still join and help spread the word. Here is the URL:!/group.php?gid=152617498093035&ref=ts

2. Bill Bradshaw is going to give a lecture titled "The Evidence for a Biological Origin for Homosexuality" on Thursday, Sept. 23 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in room 445 MARB on the BYU campus. Go see it.

Stay tuned for more details and volunteer opportunities.

Full text of the Salt Lake City ordinances

For your reference, I've posted the full text of the original Salt Lake City ordinances. You can download them in Word format here:



A brief history of anti-discrimination ordinances in Utah

After years of inaction from the Utah Legislature, the Salt Lake City council passed the first anti-discrimination ordinances in Utah on Nov. 11, 2009. They prohibited employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly supported them. In fact, Michael Otterson, managing director of Church public affairs, testified in favor of the ordinances before the Salt Lake City council saying that it was a matter of human dignity.

After that initial success, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said he hoped the ordinances could be used as a model for other cities to implement. Building on the momentum, Equality Utah, a nonprofit working for a just and fair Utah, set the goal of having 10 communities in Utah pass similar anti-discrimination ordinances in 2010. To date, Salt Lake County, Park City, Logan, West Valley City, Summit County, and Taylorsville have all passed anti-discrimination ordinances. Provo and Orem can be next.