Clifford Rosky, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, addressed the Salt Lake City Council at a November 10 hearing concerning measures to protect gay and transgender residents from housing and employment discrimination.
A spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an official statement in support of the measures, stating: “The Church supports this ordinance because it is fair and reasonable and does not do violence to the institution of marriage.” “In drafting this ordinance,” he explained, “the city has granted common-sense rights that should be available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of religious organizations, for example, in their hiring of people whose lives are in harmony with their tenets, or when providing housing for their university students and others that preserve religious requirements. ”
In his remarks, Rosky said:
Thank you, council members, and thank you, Mayor Becker. It is a privilege to be here tonight. My name is Cliff Rosky. I am here tonight as a resident of Salt Lake City, and an employee of the State of Utah. I teach law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. I am here to join the majority of Salt Lake citizens, and indeed, the majority of Utahns, in supporting the passage of these ordinances.
I would like to take this opportunity to address a few misconceptions about these ordinances, which you may have heard during the public debates, and you may hear during the public comments tonight.
These ordinances do not establish special rights, and they do not create protected groups. There is nothing special about the right to earn a living, or the right to put a roof over your head. These are rights that most of us take for granted, because we already have them.
These ordinances to not grant any special status, or give any special protections, to gay or transgendered people. They give the same protections to all Utahns. Under these ordinances, you can’t be fired because you’re straight, and you can’t be fired because you’re gay, or because you’re transgendered. We should all have the right to be judged by the quality of our work, rather than by our gender, or by the gender of the person we love.
The Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved both ordinances. The Church’s statement and the Council’s vote follow more than two months of private meetings between midlevel LDS officials and five of Utah’s most prominent gay leaders.