A bill aimed at ending Salt Lake City’s domestic partnership registry before it can be implemented will be given a public hearing on Monday.
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, introduced the SB 267 Local Government Authority Amendments the day after the Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved Mayor Ralph Becker’s proposal to start a domestic partner registry. The catalogue-like voluntary registry would allow gay and straight unmarried couples to prove that they are living together and sharing financial obligations. Becker has said that the registry will not grant any benefits, but will provide proof of an interdependent relationship for private employers interested in granting domestic partner benefits.
Buttars said that the registry is an attempt to get around Amendment 3, the constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. Voters approved the amendment in 2004.
His bill seeks to prevent county and municipal legislative bodies from creating a registry “to define, identify, or recognize a domestic partnership, civil union, or other domestic relationship other than marriage for any purpose.” It would immediately invalidate any such registry, ordinance or action.
Utah law would also be amended to prevent county and municipal governments from recognizing other marriage-like relationships for the purpose of granting rights of use to public buildings, health care visitation, or any other rights or benefits.
At press time, SB 267’s public hearing is first on the Senate Health and Human Services Standing Committee’s agenda for Monday, Feb. 11 at 8:00 a.m. The committee is chaired by Buttars and includes Sen. Allen M. Christensen, R-North Ogden, Sen. Brent H. Goodfellow, D-Salt Lake City, Sen. Peter C. Knudson, R-Box Elder, and Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City.