SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers passed new protections for victims of dating abuse on Friday after the debate turned into a disagreement about whether a proposed amendment would have discriminated against gays and lesbians.
HB 50 is targeted at bridging the gap between protections for juveniles and those who are married or living together. Bill sponsor Rep. Jennifer Selig, D-Salt Lake, claims there are no special protections for victims of dating violence at the present time in Utah. She said 42 other states have already passed those types of protective measures.
Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, has proposed an amendment to make sure the measure had what he termed adequate language in addressing the issue. Selig claimed the amendment would have been discriminatory. The amendment was then voted down before the original bill passed. Rep. Douglas Sagers, R-Tooele, worried the bill would have created special protections, which are unnecessary.
“This bill does not create a protected class. It does not expand any homosexual rights,” Seelig countered.