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3 leading Utah gubernatorial candidates in 2020; how LGBT-inclusive are they?

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According to utahpolicy.com publisher LaVarr Webb, there are three currently viable contenders to become the next governor of Utah. While the gubernatorial election isn’t until 2020, Webb has set eyes on House Speaker Greg Hughes, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. Webb says they are “all working together harmoniously to combat lawlessness, addiction and mental illness, to find housing, money, and new resources for homeless people.”

Webb touts only Cox in regard to Utah’s LGBT community, saying, “Cox, assigned by Gov. Gary Herbert as the state’s point person on homelessness, defied conservative Republican stereotypes by speaking sympathetically and eloquently about LGBT issues.” He goes on to say that Cox relates well with rural Utah. An example of each of Webb’s claims follows:

In 2016, Rock Magen, a QsaltLake columnist, wrote: Traditional definitions [of an ally] tend to remind us of the “allied forces in WWI and WWII,” which is in harmony with the thoughts I have had in regard to other communities coming to support the LGBTQ community. I am reminded of the Orlando vigil here in SLC, and the words spoken by Lt. Governor Spencer Cox. Although this elected official does not define himself as part of our community, he speaks words which I believe should be echoed throughout SLC’s history; “You have treated me with the kindness, dignity and respect — the love — that I very often did not deserve,” he said. “And it has made me love you.”

Cox, in the prior year, 2015, traveled to Delta, Utah twice to offer state support of the sheriff’s efforts in an unusual and saddening case of a young gay man, Rick Jones, who falsely reported anti-gay hate crimes that he executed upon himself.  “The original allegations were incredibly troubling, and not representative of the love and compassion the people of Utah exhibit daily,” Cox said in a statement. “I am proud of the overwhelmingly positive response and support from Delta and every corner of our state. Today, our concern is that the young man and his family receive the love and help necessary to find the peace and healing they seek.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams should also be recognized for his support of the LGBT community. In 2011, McAdams sponsored legislation that would protect against bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and housing. Although the bills never made it out of committee, McAdams said, “I am proud of my work at the Capitol as an ally for minority communities. I stand my ground while building common ground.”

“Prior to my election to the Senate, I worked to preserve Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinances against threats of the legislature to overturn these important protections,” he continued.

In 2012, Equality Utah endorsed McAdams in the mayoral race he currently holds, and in a letter welcoming the 2014 Utah Pride Festival he said, “I’m proud of the progress Salt Lake County has made to advance civil rights and equality for all families and individuals in our community. We’ve seen advances, but there is more work to do. Thank you for all you do to make the event meaningful and enjoyable to everyone in the LGBT community and beyond. He was also awarded with the Utah Pride Festival’s Pete Suazo Political Action Award.

House Speaker Greg Hughes, on the other hand, is less LGBT-friendly. Hughes, along with 79 other Republicans filed a 2014 brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking them to hear Utah’s same-sex marriage case and to reverse Judge Robert Shelby’s decision that Amendment 3 was unconstitutional.

However, Webb calls Hughes “more demonstrative” than McAdams and Cox. “But he may also be more likely to get into trouble,” he continues. “He would need to assure Utahns that he would be a safe governor. It’s okay to send a firebrand to Congress, but Utahns seem to like a father figure for governor.”

Read Webb’s full story here: http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/14464-hughes-mcadams-cox-the-odd-threesome

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