Morrill and Watts discuss gay rights

Utah’s largest gay rights group has endorsed Logan Mayor Randy Watts’ challenger without receiving the view of the mayor on homosexual issues. Will Carlson, manager of public policy for Salt Lake City-based Equality Utah, said his organization supports challenger Mike Morrill because he is a constitutionalist who believes the constitution applies to all. Morrill says the Constitution protects everyone and all Americans are under its protection. “In a broader sense,” Morrill says, “we have our own rights to liberty, and property and our pursuit of happiness. It’s not always up to the government to define what that means. That’s a God given right to define that. My pursuit of happiness is my wife and my children. They may have a different pursuit of happiness. It’s not up to the government to define what that is.”Carlson said his group was told by Morrill that he would not fire someone for being gay. Morrill says it is inappropriate to discuss sexual orientation in the workplace and shouldn’t be brought up to begin with. He says there are plenty of sexual harassment lawsuits in business as it is and those discussions should be avoided.”On the other hand,” Morrill says, “I wouldn’t fire anyone at work if they were gay. I would only fire someone at work if they were not doing their job or going against stated policies.”Carlson said the group sent a letter invitation to every candidate for every municipal election in the state and Watts did not respond to their request for his stance on gay rights. “We’d love to have a conversation with Mayor Watts but, so far, we haven’t had that opportunity except for that letter that we sent that we didn’t get a response to.”On Monday night’s KVNU For the People program, Watts was asked for his view on the issue. “That view, for me, is that unless there is probable reason for their work, for their production level, for the things they’re doing, for their discipline or whatever their job description is, because they’re gay or lesbian doesn’t have merit on the fact that it’s the job description that they have. As long as they get their job done they’re not going to get fired because of a preference.”When asked whether or not he would be willing to establish a specific city policy prohibiting someone from being fired just because of their sexual orientation, Watts said, “I would be happy.” He said he thought that could be implemented fairly easily. “I really don’t see (setting that up) as a problem with our HR,” Watts said.

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