This is Utah. We believe in civil liberties — for all Americans

Wednesday , March 08, 2017 - 5:00 AM1 comment


It is important, every so often, for people to declare what they believe.

Now is one of those times.

Sen. Brian Shiozawa, a Cottonwood Heights Republican, offered SCR 6 as a starting point.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 is intended to affirm Utah’s commitment to the civil rights of all Americans.

Not just Utahns. All Americans.

It’s an important point.

Shiozawa’s resolution, as amended by the Senate and put before the House, reads as follows:

Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:

WHEREAS, since its inception, the United States of America has served as a refuge for oppressed people fleeing religious, ethnic, and/or political persecution;

WHEREAS, freedom and the rule of law are at the heart of civil liberties and democratic values;

WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence enshrined the self-evident concept that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness";

WHEREAS, the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights protect the fundamental rights of all Americans;

WHEREAS, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees equal justice under law for all Americans regardless of race, religion, national origin, or other arbitrary factors;

WHEREAS, the United States is an open society enriched by the ethnic, religious, intellectual, scientific, and cultural heritage of humankind; and

WHEREAS, at a time when some seek to sow the seeds of discord and division, Americans must draw upon common strengths and humanity to reap peace, justice, and understanding:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein, affirms its commitment to protect the civil liberties, religious freedoms, and dignity of all Americans, legal immigrants, and encourage compassion for refugees seeking protection in the state of Utah.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor express their determination to protect the civil rights of all people within the state of Utah.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor welcome any and all efforts to educate and promote understanding and good will among the pluralistic communities that are an integral part of Utah's rich history and heritage.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of Utah's congressional delegation.

The 2017 Utah Legislature convened Jan. 9. Lawmakers spent the last two months debating Zion Curtains, concealed carry permits, medical cannabis, homeless shelters in Salt Lake City, pornography, sex education, domestic violence and hundreds of other issues.

But ultimately, none of it matters unless we acknowledge the beliefs that make us Utahns — the beliefs that define us as Americans.

From time to time, it is important to assert what we believe. Now is one of those times.

The session ends at midnight Thursday, March 9. Passing SCR 6 is a good way to close the 2017 Legislature.

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