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The Utah House on Monday gave final approval to a bill that would set rules for government agencies responsible for licensing and performing marriages.

SB297, approved on a 66-9 vote, would allow government workers to refuse to perform gay weddings, but would require county clerks ensure someone is available to perform the nuptials.

That could include someone outside the clerk's office. However, if no "designee" is identified, an elected clerk would have to perform the ceremony,

Sponsored by Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, the bill aims to provide direction to government agencies in the wake of changes in Utah law since same-sex marriage was legalized by federal court rulings last year.

Endorsed by the Mormon church and, somewhat reluctantly, by Equality Utah, the measure was unanimously approved in a special committee hearing Wednesday evening and then rushed through to a final vote on the House floor, where it was easily approved. Democrats opposed it saying that it let public officials dodge a responsibility that is part of the job.

SB297 would also prevent government retaliation against individuals who invoke religious beliefs as grounds for refusing to perform weddings or provide accommodations.

Equality Utah and the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union initially opposed the bill saying it might have given broad latitude for people of faith to deny services and equal treatment to those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Both also feared the bill could undermine the provisions in SB296, the landmark compromise bill to enact nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community in housing and employment.

Wednesday, however, Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams said Adams has worked with the LGBT community to address most concerns.

"On principle, we don't love the idea of clerks opting out, but we do recognize the extent that Senator Adams has made at expanding opportunities for LGBT couples to access marriage services throughout the state.… Equality Utah supports religious freedom, and we recognize the value of clarifying these principles in our state's laws."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement issued Wednesday, said the faith has consistently supported traditional marriage, but believes all people should be treated with respect.

"We are supportive of SB297 because it is a more balanced and fair approach to marriage and religious freedom protections," spokesman Eric Hawkins said in an email.

The Utah Association of Counties also supports the provisions in the bill that relate to clerks, the group's CEO, Adam Trupp said.