Salt Lake City voices strong opposition to gender bathroom bill

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Salt Lake City said they “strongly oppose” the gender bathroom bill which passed through Utah’s House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority last week.

On Monday morning, the City said the bill sends a hostile and demeaning message to Utah’s transgender and non-binary population. City officials further said the bill creates a greater division in the community by compromising the safety and dignity of certain groups of people over others.

“The bill contradicts our commitment to being a safe and caring place for all and undermines our State’s ambition to welcome the world and all of its diversity,” the statement read. “We love and support the transgender community throughout Utah and will do all we can to continue to make Salt Lake City a bastion of safety and inclusion.”

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Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson backed the City’s statement on Monday saying she is hopeful the State Legislature will reject the harmful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and transgender message bills.

“They send the wrong message about who we are as a state. These bills only serve to divide us when what we should be doing is making sure everyone feels like they belong in Utah,” said Wilson. “That’s the message we want to send as we are to be awarded the 2034 Olympic Games and continue to take pride in the strength of our economy largely due to individual and business expansion — no to mention our robust visitor economy.”

The bill, officially known as Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying, and Women’s Opportunities – or H.B. 257 -, is co-sponsored by Rep. Kera Birkeland and Sen. Daniel McCay. It would effectively prevent transgender persons from using publicly owned or funded bathrooms that differ from the sex they were assigned at birth.

The bill would carve out an exemption for transgender persons who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery and for those who have legally changed their sex on their birth certificate. Should H.B. 257 pass, newly constructed public buildings would be required to provide a “single-occupant” restroom while currently built public buildings would only be required to “consider” the feasibility of retrofitting existing facilities.

The bill passed through the House last week, 52-17, mostly along party lines. Six Republicans were reported as absent or not voting and three other Republicans voted against the bill.

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The bill has since moved to the Senate, where it was passed on to the Senate Business and Labor Committee for debate and review before going to the Senate floor for a vote.

Salt Lake City’s statement can be read in its entirety below:

Salt Lake City strongly opposes H.B. 257.

This bill sends a hostile and demeaning message to transgender and non-binary Utahns and creates greater division in our community by compromising the safety and dignity of certain groups of people over others.

This bill contradicts our commitment to being a safe and caring place for all and undermines our State’s ambition to welcome the world and all of its diversity.

We love and support the transgender community throughout Utah and will do all we can to continue to make Salt Lake City a bastion of safety and inclusion.

Salt Lake City – 1/22/2024

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