Holladay debates non-discrimination ordinance

Posted at 9:43 PM, Feb 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-06 23:44:02-05

HOLLADAY, Utah -- As the Utah legislature debates a statewide non-discrimination law protecting the LGBT community in the workplace and housing, another city in Salt Lake County debates whether to adopt its own ordinance.

Holladay took up the topic during Thursday night's council meeting.

One after another, residents, including members from a Holladay congregation and even the Salt Lake City Catholic Diocese, stood up at the podium to support a citywide non-discrimination ordinance protecting the LGBT community in housing and employment.

The majority of people who showed up said it’s a good idea to pass the ordinance, but there were two residents in the crowd who said because this very issue is making its way through the Utah legislature, the council should table the ordinance and wait for the state to make a decision.

While Holladay's City Council is considering the ordinance, there was at least one councilman who voiced concern. Steve Gunn said he was concerned that if there was no evidence or cases of discrimination against LGBT citizens in his city, then this was a non-issue and passing the ordinance would create a special class of citizens.

"The question I would like you to address: is it appropriate for us and this council to adopt an ordinance that deals with seemingly a non-issue? That's a concern for me,” he said.

"This is not appropriate in Holladay,” Resident Ralph Chambless said as he voiced his support of the ordinance. “Make decisions in employment and housing on this basis is wrong, and this council should take that decision, pass the ordinance and make it clear that we are not going to have this in our community.”

"My input to the council would be to not take a vote on it either way because it's such a volatile issue that's going through the courts at the federal level, and in the state legislature," said Holladay resident Ron Hilton.

Katie Filler is another resident who supported passing the ordinance.

"Prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation doesn't create a special class, it would just make us all equal under the law," she said.

There are currently 17 other cities in Utah which have passed non-discrimination ordinances protecting the LGBT community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has even publicly shown support of such ordinances, although religious organizations are also exempt from these ordinances. The Holladay City Council won't be voting on the ordinance until February 20.