State Rep. Jacob Anderegg is proposing a new state amendment that would ask Utahns to once again vote on the issue of marriage. The amendment, which Anderegg said is still in the works, would protect religious clergy from being required to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs or doctrine.
Anderegg (R-Lehi) said the proposal is a response to the Federal Government, not to the recent decision by Judge Robert J. Shelby.
“I’m trying to look down the road and say, ‘OK, they’re already using the 14th Amendment to quash state’s rights in the 10th Amendment. When are they going to start pushing back on First Amendment rights?’”
Anderegg said there are two goals for the amendment, which he started working on before the DOMA and Prop 8 Supreme Court rulings this summer. He said he wants to avoid gay couples suing religious groups for the right to marry, while also trying to calm the political right.
“[I want to] put the religious right at ease as much as possible. The First Amendment guarantees it, now we’re going to make sure the state has a constitutional amendment as well as a statute that guarantees it,” Anderegg said. “Relax, OK? Just Relax. The world’s not ending tomorrow.”
Though Anderegg mentioned considering recent rulings in Colorado and New Mexico in the development of his amendment, which said businesspeople catering to marriages could not discriminate based on orientation; he said he must first consider how adding commerce issues to his bill would affect non-discrimination laws.
“I’m not comfortable as of today to move forward with commerce protection or religious liberty exemption,” Anderegg said.
The representative said he has much more to consider before the bill would be brought to a vote.