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 the country.”

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.

According to The 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.