Utah politician’s bill ‘to exclude gay families’

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A politician in the US state of Utah has introduced a bill which gay groups fear could strip all recognition of gay couples.

Republican representative LaVar Christensen’s bill would require all laws, regulations and publicly-funded programmes relating to the family should “be carefully scrutinised to ensure that they promote the family”.

“Family” is defined as “a legally and lawfully married man and woman and their children”.

Mr Christensen has filed another one-sentence bill which says: “An arrangement, agreement or transaction that is unlawful or violates public policy is void and unenforceable.”

Gay rights campaigners say that the two bills combined could mean that gay families – and others – are excluded from a range of protections and initiatives.

Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, told the Salt Lake Tribune that she was “deeply concerned” about the proposed law.

“It could be used to create a filter for public agencies and a way to target laws, services and funding that currently help single Utahns or Utahns with families that differ from Representative Christensen’s,” she said.

Last month, a report found significant homophobia and discrimination in Utah, home to the Mormon Church.

The study of 939 LGBT Utah citizens found that 67 per cent of transgender and 44 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people say they have either been sacked or have been denied a job or promotion as a result of their LGBT status.