Cultivating Common Ground: Lessons from Utah for Living With Our Differences

J. Stuart Adams, Cultivating Common Ground: Lessons from Utah for Living With Our Differences, in Chapter 32,Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights and the Prospects for Common Ground (William N. Eskridge & Robin Fretwell Wilson 2018)

University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-07

21 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2019 Last revised: 20 Mar 2019

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Across the United States, there is a palpable sense of uncertainty about whether tensions between gay rights and religious liberty will ever subside. Utah’s “Fairness for All” legislation provides strong counter evidence that protections for religious liberty and LGBT rights cannot be reconciled. Utah's successful effort to enact legislation prohibiting workplace and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while also including robust protections for people of faith to live out their convictions, shows that people of good will can find common ground. This Chapter describes Utah's experience with Fairness for All legislation and draws important lessons, including that the legislature is a better forum for accommodating seemingly competing interests than the courts, the importance of bringing all parties to the table, and the reality that both LGBT people and people of faith can be protected in the law. The Chapter offers thoughts about thorny questions that Utah’s landmark legislation did not reach, including public accommodations and the status of religious adoption agencies that receive federal funds.

Suggested Citation

Adams, J. Stuart, Cultivating Common Ground: Lessons from Utah for Living With Our Differences (2018). J. Stuart Adams, Cultivating Common Ground: Lessons from Utah for Living With Our Differences, in Chapter 32,Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights and the Prospects for Common Ground (William N. Eskridge & Robin Fretwell Wilson 2018); University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3337029

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