Utah Governor Gary Herbert has said he
is against a proposed Salt Lake City gay protections bill.
Herbert told reporters he does not
believe being gay should be a protected class in the way that race,
gender and religion are, the AP reported.
“We don't have to have a rule for
everyone to do the right thing. 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,” Herbert said Thursday during his
first monthly KUED news conference.
Herbert, who was lieutenant governor,
ascended to governor two weeks ago after President Obama tapped
Governor Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China. Huntsman backed a
failed effort last year to extend some rights to gay men and lesbians
in the state.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is
backing a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate on the
basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (transgender
protections) in the areas of employment, public accommodations and
housing. A public discussion draft of the proposal is being
circulated and the mayor is expected to introduce a final bill to the
City Council in mid-September.
Conservative State Senator Chris
Buttars, a Republican from West Jordan, has said he would block the
“I don't think the discrimination
they scream about is really real,” Buttars told Salt Lake
City-based KCPW radio on Monday. “I'm watching that to see what
they try to do, and if they keep pushing it, then I will bring a bill
Becker said a July report by the Salt
Lake City Human Rights Commission that said discrimination in the
city remains a problem prompted him to act.
The measure has yet to be finalized and
Herbert told reporters that he would reserve judgment until he's had
a chance to read it. But when asked if he believed gay people should
be protected, he said, “No.”
“Where are you going to stop? I mean
that's the problem going down that slippery road. Pretty soon we're
going to have a special law for blue-eyed blondes … or people who
are losing their hair a little bit,” Herbert, a Republican, said.
“There's some support for about anything we put out there. I'm
just saying we end up getting bogged down sometimes with the minutiae
of things that government has really no role to be involved in.”