A newly proposed Utah bill, SB107, introduced by UT senators Steve Urquhart and Jim Debakis, raised concern for the Mormons, the greatest influence on Utah legislation and government. The bill adds strong punishments for crimes that are influenced on a belief the criminal held against the victim.
"SB107 would more clearly define a hate crime as an offense against a person or person's property based on a belief or perception about their ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion or sexual orientation."The church stated:
"The Utah Legislature achieved something extraordinary last year in arriving at legislation that protected both religious liberty rights and LGBT rights. Interests from both ends of the political spectrum are attempting to alter that balance. We believe that the careful balance achieved through being fair to all should be maintained."What is confusing to many is that the bill includes language for both sexual identity/orientation, as well as religion. Many also believe that the influence of the Mormon Church on government is nearly breaching the "Separation of Church and State" clauses of the US Constitution.
It's not unfair to claim that the church has the rights to say what it wants, support or oppose laws, or even speak of politicians. But many, if not most statements publicly announced by the Mormons has little or no factual evidence to support its claims: only fear of unintended consequences.
The fear that the Mormon Church--as well as many other religions--exclaims is often a powerful tool to influence the voices of its members--including those with political power.
The Mormons have also recently opposed a law to expand the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, also warning of the "unintended consequences". Such statements often kill bills in the state senate--truly underlining the strong hold the Mormons have on law.