LGBT activists gather to support nondiscrimination ordinance; STGnews Videocast

Equality Utah's Preston Hilburn and Tara Owen address LGBT supporters, St. George, Utah, Dec. 2, 2014 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Representatives from Equality Utah and local supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community gathered at Grace Episcopal Church in St. George Tuesday night to share stories and show support for a possible nondiscrimination ordinance they hope the City of St. George will adopt soon. The ordinance would help protect LGBT community members from discrimination in the workplace and in housing situations.

The night began with Equality Utah Field Organizer Preston Hilburn and volunteer coordinator Tara Owen addressing a crowd of approximately 30 people on the importance of connecting with others and how simply sharing a story can change someone’s perspective.

Report continues below

Videocast by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

Equality Utah is based out of Salt Lake City and is the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization. Its representatives travel the state in support of the LGBT community, presenting meetings to the public where they find needs arising, as they have recently in St. George.

On Nov. 6, the St. George City Council heard from local resident Matthew Jacobson about how discrimination has affected his life and the lives of many others, and Jacobson requested that the city take action.

Preston Hilburn and Tara Owen go over some "Talking Points" with attendees, Dec. 2, 2014 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News
Preston Hilburn and Tara Owen go over some talking Points” with attendees, Dec. 2, 2014 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

“It takes a community member to want to go meet with City Council,” Hilburn said. “We hope people use the tools from this training.”

A study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force revealed that among the Western states, an average of three to five people per month are allegedly fired from their jobs for being gay or transgender. Additionally, the study found, 49 percent of LGBT Utahns experienced homophobia or harassment in the workplace last year.

If St. George did adopt a nondiscrimination ordinance, it would be the second city in Washington County to do so and the 17th city in the state of Utah. Springdale adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance in 2012. Other cities that have nondiscrimination ordinances include Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Park City, Taylorsville, West Valley City, Marriott-Slaterville, Murray, Midvale, Moab, Ogden, Alta, Logan, Harrisville, Perry City and Washington Terrace.

Countywide nondiscrimination ordinances also exist in Salt Lake, Summit and Grand counties.


  • For an updated list of states with laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, visit Movement Advancement Project.
  • Equality Utah website

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Twitter: @STGnews

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  • Koolaid December 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Will all those supporters of the discriminatory Amendment 3 show up saying we don’t need this ordinance, that law of the land (whatever that means) will suffice?

  • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    LOL, and there’s like 5 people there total…

    • modigliani December 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Sheep, you can’t count any better than you can write.

  • Zonkerb December 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Well 6 people cuz Josh Duhh Dalton said he will be there

  • NOTAGAIN December 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I’m waiting for the ACLU to jump into action big time for the protection of red headed folks with snow cone color streaks running through their curls.
    They have rights too you know? (Note) ask your local attorney if the commission is waved or reduced on representation.
    And how about little old ladies with 109 disgusting tattoos all over their face? Instead of laughing, one should give that person a hug. Not laughter.
    (I forgot what this article was pushing)— O yeah, discrimination Amendment 3 for transvestites and fat people. People of St. George are so square.

    • Zonkerb December 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      LOL talk about somebody who needs to get a life.. Okay get back to washing those pots and pans

    • Aaron Judd December 4, 2014 at 4:38 am

      The entire LGBT community summed up as transvestites and fat people by someone hiding behind a fake name. How very childish. You’re face is a fat transvestite neener neener neener.

  • Gays? December 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    What ‘church’ hosted this??

    • nojudgment December 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Grace Episcopal Church is a LGBTQ-friendly church that does not discriminate or judge people who want to attend. You should try it sometime. The church hosts events like this often. It also hosted a World AIDS Day Memorial event the night before. It also hosts the St. George Soup Kitchen (five days a week starting in January; four days a week now).

    • Zonkerb December 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      The same church that not again belongs to

  • Betty December 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    So if I feel discriminated in my job because I’m not of the dominate religion, should I ask the city council to pass an ordinance? I believe Matthew and friends need to grow up and maybe grow a pair. Do your job and don’t be stupid. If you are fired because you are homosexual, file a lawsuit. But I’m thinking maybe Matthew was so focused on his sexual oeintation that maybe he wasn’t focused on his job duties. Do your job, get a check, get on with your life.

    • The Rest Of The Story December 3, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      It works so well inside your mind, so it must be true, right?
      “If you are fired because you are homosexual, file a lawsuit.”
      Without an ordinance making LGBT people a protected class, such a lawsuit would be dismissed…and therefore, as worthless as your comment.

  • modigliani December 3, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Well, this story really brought out the best of St. George.

  • ladybugavenger December 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    This means I’m gonna get past up for a promotion because I’m white and not gay.

    • Aaron Judd December 4, 2014 at 4:44 am

      That is very much not what this means. One is to help make sure institutionalized bigotry is dealt with in the workplace and housing market, your version is more…self-centered and frankly those who don’t care for the team don’t get the promotion. I’m sure its not just the gays’ fault you are not promoted in the future.

      • ladybugavenger December 4, 2014 at 10:01 am

        Go team!!! Come on, I’m a white woman, gay men are our best friends- don’t you know?

    • modigliani December 4, 2014 at 9:15 am

      No, but you might get passed up because you can’t spell. Some jobs do require good spelling.

      • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

        Is that why you are looking for a job.?

    • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm


  • Herd December 3, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Based on the comments, it’s obvious there are hateful and prejudiced people in this town, justification for an ordinance to protect others from their prejudice and discrimination. The clear sign of their discriminatory behavior is belittling and placing blame on the victims of their prejudices and ddiscrimination which extend against others, not just against the gay community. The comments assuming the firing was based on job performance are ridiculous. Show your proof to back your assertion.

    • The Rest Of The Story December 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm


  • Dana December 4, 2014 at 5:47 am

    The sad fact is that in 2014, there is a NEED for this type of legislation. Until and unless you are discriminated against, you will never know what someone else is going through.

    • Brian December 4, 2014 at 7:03 am

      BS. The funny thing about freedom is that ~someone~ is ALWAYS discriminated against. For instance, everyone has freedom of speech, but the law doesn’t guarantee someone will listen. But in essence that is what these bullcrap laws do, they force one party to do the whims of the other. If I create a business with my time, money, and energy, bearing all the risk myself, I should be able to choose who I do business with. There isn’t a single LGBT person going hungry or homeless without these laws. Not one. Anywhere. The purpose of laws are to preserve life and liberty, and these laws do neither. People get evicted when their leases are up, all the time for a myriad of reasons. You rent a house from someone, then they have a family member they want to rent to: evicted. If you don’t like it, buy your own freaking house and stop renting. Buy a building and make it LGBT only. I will fight for your right to do either. If there are enough LGBT renters, the market says you win. If not, the market says you lose. That’s the only level playing field there is. Otherwise, everyone’s rights are respected except the business owners and the religious. If you want that, move to Russia or China, they’re pretty much that way already.

      • U Windbag December 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

        Why did Utah need its Amendment 3? To discriminate. Why did religions promote Proposition 8? Because they want to discriminate and spread hate. Why did Utah make interracial marriages illegal? Because of the hateful and discriminatory nature of the religious fold. Why did Delbert Stapley write political letters against equal rights for blacks? Because of the hateful and discriminatory nature of the Utah religious fold. The list goes on with the hateful and discriminatory practices of religious people. Why does the college allow apartment rental listings that say “LDS Only” (I’ve seen them)? Because of the need for religious people to hate and discriminate. Instead of blasting the people who want protection from those who hate and discriminate, why don’t you focus your efforts against those who hate, are uneducated about others and who openly discriminate? Start preaching equality to your church people, the haters.

    • ladybugavenger December 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

      I’m white and I’m discriminated against, maybe because my husband is native american….is it race? Probably not…, at my work favoritism is the discrimination ,not race….I’m not favorited because I don’t kiss a$$…therefore, I don’t get promoted and its not because of my job performance because I do my job above and beyond expectations. Not everyone is treated equal- even white women…I bring up race because isn’t that what this country is about, what race you are, what’s your sexuality. I don’t care what race you are or your sex preforance, I care about if you’re gonna hurt me or not? Are you a jerk or not? Are you a liar or not? Are you stuck on stupid or not?

  • Brian December 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I have a simple question: after these ordinances are passed all over the country, how do you ever fire or evict an LGBT person (with cause) again without getting sued into oblivion? Small businesses (which most people work for) should be on the endangered species list, because its getting close to impossible to create one and succeed. In fact, 2013 was the first year in US history that more businesses closed than opened, and laws like these and crushing regulations are the biggest part of the reason why. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, but you’d have to be psycho to start a business right now.

    • Mike December 4, 2014 at 8:03 am

      I have a simple answer to your simple question. After this ordinance is passed an LGBT person will be able to be fired for the same reasons a woman, a black man, a Jewish man or anyone can be fired, poor work performance, but not for their sexual orientation. See, simple and fair.

      • Brian December 4, 2014 at 11:06 am

        They’ll be able to be fired for that stated reason, but the likelihood they’ll cry discrimination and sue, and in this climate win, is 100x higher. This is very similar to Ferguson, where you have a giant thug hopped up on drugs that robs a store then attacks a police officer, but somehow we’re supposed to believe he was shot ~because he was black~. So even if you fire someone with cause AND win in court, you’ll still get lambasted publicly for discriminating and the entire focus will be on the fact they were gay, not the fact they were a crappy employee and were fired with cause. This is also similar to “hate crime” legislation, where we add extra punishment for motive rather than the actual crime. What freaking planet are we living on? Next they’ll just skip waiting for the crime and just punish thoughts directly.

        • modigliani December 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm

          What are you so afraid of?

    • U Windbag December 4, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Are you the same person who on a radio station mocked gays in the military, commenting about them wearing pink uniforms and marching with a swish? Why were such hateful comments necessary about our military personnel? Those comments were what you’d expect of an ignorant bigot.

    • The Rest Of The Story December 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      It’s called documentation.

  • modigliani December 4, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Brian: “There isn’t a single LGBT person going hungry or homeless without these laws. Not one. Anywhere. ”

    You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about or any experience with the lives of real people in the real world. You’ve been rocked in the cradle of a culture where bad things don’t happen to “good” people, but get out there and see what’s going on. Turn off the talk radio ranters and engage in conversations with thinking people – maybe even a gay person. It’s not contagious. The funny part is, you probably know a lot of gay people, especially white men who are terrified you’ll find out. Or maybe you are the one who’s terrified. If you have kids, ask yourself how you’d treat a child who has the courage to tell you he or she is gay. And how you would want the world to treat that child.

    And if it comes to this, ask yourself what Jesus would do. The only people Jesus discriminated against were the money-changers in the temple. And that’s a whole different story, but relevant here.

    • U Windbag December 4, 2014 at 10:34 am

      You should have heard the comments made on the radio show a few years back when gays were accepted in the military. Comments about promoting gay agendas, pink uniforms, swishing when they march…. yep, these comments from those religious people who accept others.

    • Brian December 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Really? Show me any evidence that people are homeless ~because they’re gay~ and got evicted and can’t find suitable housing ~because they’re gay~? Or are unemployed and starving ~because they’re gay~ and can’t find work ~because they’re gay~. There are lots of homeless and hungry, but it’s due to circumstances and the economy, not because they’re gay. No one has perfect job security or a guarantee of a roof over their head. We’re guaranteed the right to pursue happiness, not have it handed to us on a silver platter by a legal team. There shouldn’t be any underclass in society, but there shouldn’t be any protected classes, either.

      • modigliani December 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        You should talk to a few teen whose families kicked them out because they were gay. These kids end up on the street,homeless and hungry. I’m sure you don’t know and don’t want to know anything about this side of life. For god’s sake, open your mind and your heart.

      • The Rest Of The Story December 5, 2014 at 1:07 am

        Especially not Native Americans, when white people come to kill them and steal their lands, right?

    • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 4, 2014 at 11:45 am


      • modigliani December 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

        You know what, Sheepman. After reading this inane comment I remembered a lesson i learned years ago from a guy who worked with one of the NBA teams (not the Jazz) when he was attacked by nonsense:

        “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

        I realized you’re not a sheep man. You’re a pig man. And you’ve got a lot of buddies who make the same kinds of miserable comments. Sty. George is quite a place.

        • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

          LOL yeah feel free to leave

      • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

        Yeah thats it sheep LOL. Good one.!

  • Herd December 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Is a church less likely to discriminate and promote hate against gays who are current with their tithing?

    • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      If you pay the $$$ you’re all good…

    • Crackmeup December 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Hating and not condoning are two different things. Being and idiot is just one thing! HERD of it?

      • The Rest Of The Story December 5, 2014 at 1:10 am

        Fallacy alert.
        All too often, “not condoning” is the result of hating.
        But go ahead and pat yourself on the head, give yourself a gold star, and tell yourself how much your invisible sky-daddy loves you because you are his favorite and belong to the true church. The rest of the world sees you for what you are–an idiot.

  • modigliani December 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    A note to the editor: On many newspaper comment sites, there’s a ban on personal attacks like calling another commenter stupid or an idiot, etc. Do you think it would be possible to initiate that policy here?

    • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      If you need a site where u can be constantly babied and bottle fed then go over to KSL. 😀

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