Tags: utah | county | gay | couples

Conservative Utah County Clears Way for Benefits to Gay Couples

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 02:07 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Utah's Salt Lake County — a bastion of American conservatism — has torn down a major barrier for same sex couples.

In what would have been unthinkable a few decades ago, the Salt Lake County Council voted 8-1 on Tuesday to allow people in nontraditional relationships to share a partner’s benefits.

The new ordinance sets up a "mutual commitment registry," reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

It will allow eligible couples to share in workplace health plans, county recreation passes, and other state and county benefits.

"I think it is significant to note that this county government is saying we recognize all families," said Arleen Bradshaw, a Democrat, who sponsored the legislation.

"We recognize different types of relationships; we want to be supportive of all of these relationships."

He also praised the council's majority Republicans for supporting the bill in the heavily Mormon county.

But Council Chair Steve Derby, who cast the sole "no" vote, said he worried the county is on a "slippery slope" toward endorsing gay marriage.

Brandie Balkan, executive director of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group Equality Utah, told the Tribune: "We believe this is a small, but important step towards equal access for all who reside within the county."



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