Really, Gary Herbert? Utah’s new governor just made the brave move of going on record saying discrimination against gay Americans should be perfectly legal. Because you guys are, like, a special interest group.
Herbert, who took over for civil-union-supporting Jon Huntsman when he left to become the U.S. ambassador to China, doesn’t want you to be discriminated against. But the idea of making it illegal to discriminate against you? That makes him sick!
At a press conference yesterday, Herbert (a Mormon fella, if that surprises you) told reporters that he’s perfectly fine with Utah’s current rules about discriminating against LGBTs in the workplace, in housing, and elsewhere. Namely, that it’s perfectly legal! “We don’t have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing,” says Herbert. “We ought to just do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do and we don’t have to have a law that punishes us if we don’t.”
This is funny, because often, people do not do the right thing. And when they don’t, it unethically impacts certain groups of Americans through no fault of their own. This is why it’s called “discrimination.” It’s also why, in places like Salt Lake City, it’s such a problem that they’re trying to at least pass a local law outlawing discrimination. It’s why folks like news anchor Charlie Perez can get fired, because his state, Florida, also doesn’t have workplace anti-discrimination laws.
And even if it weren’t a problem? It is still the right thing to do. No American should be allowed to be fired, denied housing, or other basic services because they happen to be male or female, black or white or brown, gay or straight or trans or bi, or … Republican. Or Mormon!
Because we’d hate to see your beautiful white Mormon family discriminated against, Gary.
(NB: Herbert, it’s worth noting, isn’t unlike his predecessors, notes Salt Lake City Weekly. There’s a long Utah gubernatorial tradition of playing keepaway with gay rights.)
Which is why we’re in love with Utah State Democratic Rep. Christine Johnson, who’s been on a years-long crusade to pass an anti-discrimination bill. Here she is speaking this week at a transgender-in-the-workplace symposium: