Activists are attempting a new push for
gay rights in one of the states where opposition to such rights is
the highest: Utah.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest gay rights advocate, on Friday launched it's 17-city
On the Road to Equality bus tour at an event in Salt Lake City
attended by Mayor Ralph Becker.
“I can't think of a more fitting
place to kick off this journey,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said
in a blog post. “HRC has always had a strong presence here in Salt
Lake City and the LGBT community here is among the most vibrant in
But while Salt Lake City was the first
to add sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender
protections) to its anti-discrimination laws last year, anti-gay
sentiment in Utah remains high.
New York Times, Utah is among the 15 states that would
approve in 2012 an amendment that bans all forms of legal recognition
– including marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships –
for gay and lesbian couples. An
HRC report released in January, showed support for gay marriage
in Utah had grown from 12 percent in 1996 to 22 percent in 2010, but
the state ranked dead last in the survey.
A new poll released this week by HRC
found acceptance is growing, especially
in the area of discrimination.
More than three-fourths of respondents
(77%) support anti-discrimination laws such as the one enacted by
Salt Lake City, and 70 percent of men and 77 percent of women said
they could be friends with a gay person.
The poll, however, also showed 63
percent of Utahns oppose gay marriage, and they are divided over
allowing gay couples to adopt children (48 percent are opposed, while
44 percent are in favor).
“Utahns believe in fairness but the
laws haven't yet caught up with that reality,” Solmonese added.
HRC will remain in Utah over the
weekend and then head out to Omaha, Nebraska. The tour ends in
Orlando, Florida on October 30.