Clifford Rosky, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, addressed the Logan City Council at a May 18 hearing concerning measures to protect gay and transgender residents from housing and employment discrimination. The Logan City Council approved both ordinances by a vote of 4-0, with one member abstaining from the vote. Logan is now the fourth city or county in Utah to adopt antidiscrimination ordinances, following the adoption of ordinances by Salt Lake City, Park City, and Salt Lake County. Similar measures are being considered by cities and counties across the state.
The evening before the Logan hearing, Rosky briefly debated the ordinances with Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute on KVNU’s For the People. The Logan hearing was covered by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Herald Journal of Logan.
In his remarks at the Logan City Countil hearing, Rosky said:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman; thank you, council members; and thank you, Mr. Mayor. I’m grateful for the opportunity to address you tonight. My name is Cliff Rosky. I’m not a resident of Logan, but I hope that you’ll forgive me for making the trip up from Salt Lake. I am a law professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, and I am a member of Equality Utah’s Board of Directors. I would like to take this opportunity to address a few misconceptions about these ordinances, based on some of the things that you’ve heard here tonight.
Above all, it’s important to clarify that these ordinances do not establish special rights, and they do not create protected groups. Everyone has a sexual orientation and a gender identity, so these ordinances grant the same protections to everyone. They say that you can’t be fired because you’re straight, and you can’t be fired because you’re gay, or because you’re transgendered. They say that we all have the right to work, and the right to keep a roof over our heads.
I’m delighted to see that with very few exceptions, everyone here agrees with these principles. No one here supports discrimination. Everyone is against it. We all agree on that.
Unfortunately, however, there are times when some people –- including some employers and landlords — forget these principles. People do get fired, just because they’re gay or transgendered. It happens.
It doesn’t happen a lot, because most people are not gay and transgendered. For decades, however, studies have shown that on a per person basis, discrimination based on sexual orientation is as common as discrimination based on sex.
One of the nice things about these ordinances is that apart from a few comments tonight, they are not controversial. A significant majority of Utahns support them — including a majority of Republicans in Utah, and a majority of Mormons. In fact, the LDS Church itself has made an official statement that the Church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable.
For tonight’s purposes, however, we’ve learned something much more important. I urge you to adopt these ordinances, because an overwhelming majority of the people of Logan support them.