SALT LAKE CITY, UT — (02-25-23) — Utah lawmaker Rep. Jeff Stenquist, says he has listened to concerns from the LGBTQ community and has updated a bill known as Utah’s “Don’t Say Gay’ bill, over the concerns of the LGBT Community.

“It was never my intention to do harm or anything like that.” – Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper

HB550 from Rep. Jeff Stenquist would still prohibit any discussion of sexuality in kindergarten through third grade, but it has removed the proposed language banning the topics of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

That makes the bill less stringent and means words like “gay” or “lesbian” are not off limits when someone, including an educator, speaks about relationships.

“There were people who helped me understand that there could be issues with talking about families,” Stenquist told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday. “There could be a student who has two moms. Or a teacher might refer to her partner.”

The changes came after the bill drew condemnation when it was published last Thursday, with roughly a week left in the legislative session!

LGBTQ groups in Utah were quick to voice their concerns, including that it felt discriminatory and that Stenquist hadn’t consulted with them to find a middle ground.

Executive director for Equality Utah, Troy Williams, said that Stenquist had sat down with him last Friday and talked about ways to change the bill.

“We are grateful to Rep. Stenquist for thoughtfully amending this bill to ensure that all students are treated equally,” said Equality Utah in a statement. “With the proposed amendment, HB550 can no longer be considered a ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”

Williams now says that Equality Utah is no longer opposed to Utah’s “Don’t Say Gay” measure.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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