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Progressive advocates have proposed new hate crimes legislation (Senate Bill 107 – Hate Crimes Amendments) that seeks to increase punishments for criminals whose offense intentionally targets a gay, lesbian or transgender individual.

A year after the "Utah Compromise" on LGBT nondiscrimination and religious liberty, this ought to be a time of hope for continuing Utah's new approach of balancing rights and ensuring fairness for all. Unfortunately, the advocates behind SB107 chose to abandon the spirit and fundamental fairness of the Utah Compromise in favor of the unbalanced approach of the past. As a result, SB107 would promote inequality before the law.

The foundation of the Utah Compromise on LGBT nondiscrimination and religious liberty was a desire to protect the rights of both LGBT and religious individuals to live according to their fundamental beliefs and core identities. So, for example, the Utah Compromise legally protected an LGBT individual from being fired from his or her job due to sexual orientation, and it protected the right of a religious individual to reasonably express his or her beliefs regarding marriage and sexuality both inside and outside the workplace.

Both sides received legal considerations and substantive protections that were important to them and which were based in the realities of their own lives (as opposed to token protections for theoretical "problems" that people don't face in real life). There was a fundamental fairness and balancing of rights to this approach, which is what made it a genuine compromise.

Rather than echoing this delicate balancing act, SB107 seems designed to turn back the clock and return Utah to the unbalanced, self-interested politics and approach to policy that defined LGBT rights legislation before the Utah Compromise.

For example, SB107 would enact protections for LGBT individuals that are important to the LGBT community and are based in their real-world fear of being targeted by criminals. What does the legislation offer religious individuals? Not much. In the words of SB107's advocates, "If a white Mormon guy is attacked because he is white and Mormon, he will be protected by this law." Rather than this weak "protection," it should include specifics such as barring prosecutors from using good-faith religious expression that is unrelated to the specific crime committed (e.g., a social media statement supporting traditional marriage) as evidence of a hate crime.

SB107 also offers some general language stating that it should not limit free speech or other constitutional rights. These protections, however, do not approach the level of specificity and substance as the LGBT protections in the bill, and so they do not live up to the standard of the Utah Compromise. These general protections are similar to the general protections offered last year in religious liberty legislation — which progressive advocates declared insufficient and discriminatory.

If the supporters of SB107 want it to live up to the standards of the Utah Compromise, the legislation should include specific and substantive protections for religious liberty that actually reflect the problems faced in real life by religious believers. It should require evidence that a criminal undertook a hate crime with the intent to intimidate the targeted group, as hate crimes laws in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey do. Also, it should include heightened protections for innocent Utahns against false reporting of a hate crime, which is something that the state has already experienced.

Rather than seeking a return to the failures of the past, progressive advocates ought to move toward the future envisioned by the Utah Compromise: mutual tolerance, shared equality before the law, and balanced rights for religious and LGBT Utahns. Until new legislation to protect LGBT rights, including SB 107, reflects a serious commitment to the spirit and genuine balance of the Utah Compromise, it should not be treated as serious legislation by Utah policymakers.

Derek Monson is director of policy for Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy think tank in Salt Lake City.