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BYU Students Support Anti-Discrimination Laws

By Erik Westesen,

PROVO, UT - In an effort to spark a grassroots movement supporting anti-discrimination laws in Provo, BYU students met last week to discuss how to reach Provo’s community and City Council.

The group is made up of mostly BYU students who are interested in passing ordinances in Provo similar to those passed a year ago in Salt Lake City — ordinances that would prohibit employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly supported the ordinances in Salt Lake City, and since then nearly a dozen cities and municipalities have put similar laws into place.

Provo does not yet have anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Led by a BYU law student named Marshall Thompson, the group is inviting members of the community to write letters to their city council members showing support for the anti-discrimination ordinances, and to visit its website,

As representatives of BYU and the LDS Church, students at the school should support these ordinances, according to BYU senior Cary Crall.

“This is a great opportunity for BYU students to live up to what the LDS Church has said on LGBT relations — that we respect them, that we love them,” Crall said.

One difficulty the group has run into, Thompson explained, is many people think the ordinances are not needed. Sally Hicken, a senior at BYU who attended Thursday’s meeting, said she didn’t realize how important it was until she made friends who were affected by the lack of anti-discrimination ordinances.

“Until it affects you, or someone you know, or someone you love, you just don’t really think about it,” Hicken said.

In the long term, Thompson said he hopes the Utah Legislature will eventually support these ordinances at a state level.

“It’s absolutely clear that, for whatever reason, the Utah legislature has been unable to act on this,” Thompson said. “Provo City has an opportunity to step up and make a really positive change, without compulsion, and be a leader in Utah.”

This loosely organized group will continue to meet as needed, Thompson said


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