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Same-Sex Marriage Ban Gains

From Associated Press

Despite a plea from the only known gay member of the Utah Legislature, the state House gave final approval Wednesday to a bill sanctioning marriage only “between a man and a woman.”

The Utah House voted 62-12 for the Marriage Recognition Policy, which outlaws same-sex marriages.

House approval followed Senate passage on Jan. 30. It now goes to Gov. Olene S. Walker, who has not taken a position on the bill.

“She wants to read it and understand it,” said spokeswoman Amanda Covington. “She believes in the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman, but she’ll look at the bill closely.”

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Majority Republicans kept Wednesday’s debate short, with Rep. Margaret Dayton (R-Orem), who introduced the measure, refusing to answer any questions about it.

“I don’t think any debate on this issue is going to change anybody’s mind,” Dayton said. “I choose not to answer any questions.”

Rep. Jackie Biskupski (D-Salt Lake City) pleaded with Republicans to reconsider.

“I’m not the only lesbian you know. Gay people are in every community in this state,” she said.

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Biskupski spoke haltingly at first, saying she knew her sexual orientation was whispered about around the Capitol. She added, “I’m human, created by God just like all of you, with a loving and forgiving heart.”

After a long pause, she said gay people have been around for as long as human history but that persecution in modern times “has kept us quiet.”

A Democratic effort to amend the bill to reinforce the state’s ban on polygamy failed. Republicans said it wasn’t needed.

Democrats said Utah has laws defending traditional marriage and that the Marriage Recognition Policy was a GOP election-year campaign slogan.

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“It helps no one and hurts many. It’s a mean-spirited warning: ‘You haven’t asked to get married, but if you’re even thinking about it, don’t,’ ” said Rep. Carol Moss (D-Holladay), a retired schoolteacher.


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