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Provo mayor supports anti-discrimination bill

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Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-03 21:11:22-05

By KELLY KEITER

PROVO, Utah -- Provo's Mayor John Curtis posted a statement on his website supporting Republican St. George Sen. Steve Urquhart's anti-discrimination bill after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called for lawmakers to support it.

"I think that, like so many, it's an introspective look into myself and my feelings and, as I looked, there's a lot of things I want to share," Curtis said.

Troy Williams from Equality Utah is a former student of Brigham University who was a closeted gay while living in Provo and says he applauds the mayor's decision to take a stance in support of non-discrimination laws in one of Utah's most conservative cities.

"It was so beautiful to open up the website today and see Mayor Curtis' beautiful statement of inclusion, love, respect and dignity for the gay and transgender community," Williams said.

In his statement on www.provomayor.com, Curtis says, "Most of my life, I've made casual judgments about the LGBT community without the benefit of thoughtful consideration. I regret my uninformed judgment."

After the LDS Church press conference last week, Curtis said he felt it was appropriate to say something.

"It's something I've been spending a lot of time thinking about and the church's press conference last week, of course, brought a lot of things to a head, a lot of feelings, and so, for me, the timing was very good to add my voice to the other voices," he said.

Sen. Urquhart's bill would exempt religious institutions like BYU from complying with certain laws. Students at BYU will still be required to follow the housing honor code rules, but discrimination in housing off campus and in the workplace would be prohibited.

"As a gay Mormon, myself, who spent a lot of time going to college and working and living in Provo, to hear the mayor of Provo come out with a beautiful statement of support for gay and transgender Utahns, it was amazing," Williams said.

Mayor Curtis said he posted the statement not for political reasons, but to call attention to the issue.

"It's not so much advocating for a specific piece of legislation as it is a dialogue about how we treat people," he said.