To St. George City Councilpersons Gil Almquist, Bette Arial, Joe Bowcutt, Jimmie Hughes, Michele Randall, and Mayor Jon Pike:
The City of St. George is continuing to grow because our town is welcoming, it’s affordable and it’s a great place for people who love the outdoors. People from all over the country continue to make St. George a destination. And with Dixie State now a university, there’s even more incentive for people both young and old to come to St. George and possibly call it home.
St. George should join the ranks of the 16 cities and three counties in the state of Utah that have adopted nondiscrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation and gender identity, which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-supports-nondiscrimination-ordinances).
When Salt Lake City passed its ordinance, Michael Otterson, a representative for the LDS Church, said this to the Salt Lake City Council:
“The issues before you tonight are the right of people to have a roof over their heads and the right to work without being discriminated against. But, importantly, the ordinances also attempt to balance vital issues of religious freedom. In essence, the (LDS) Church agrees with the approach which Mayor Becker is taking on this matter. … The Church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage. They are also entirely consistent with the Church’s prior position on these matters. The Church remains unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman.”
This ordinance can, and should, be created and passed. And it can be done without violating anyone’s religious beliefs. It would only guarantee St. George residents cannot be fired or evicted just for being gay.
We don’t need, nor should we have to, wait for the state of Utah to stop members of the LGBT community from losing their jobs or not being hired at all due to sexual orientation or gender identity. And what a message we’ll be sending of inclusivity when we show the state that we want our LGBT community members to feel safe in their homes, condos, and apartments without fear of eviction.
We need only look to our neighbors in Springdale to see how such an ordinance would work in Southern Utah. The Gateway to Zion is a thriving city full of a diverse group of people. The town flourishes, and the townspeople are better off for it.
St. George would join other cities such as Park City, Taylorsville, West Valley City, Murray, Midvale, Moab, Ogden, Logan, Alta, Harrisville, South Salt Lake, and of course Salt Lake City and Springdale.
Creating employment and housing safety for LGBT community members is the right thing to do for your fellow human being, and it’s also the right thing to do for our economy. Show St. George how inclusive and Christ-like our City Council and Mayor truly are, and let’s make a positive change and lasting legacy.
St. George resident