Today, just a week after a similar protest in Idaho, LGBT activists in Utah were arrested for protesting the state's refusal to protect its LGBT citizens from workplace and housing discrimination.
The protests began this morning, a group of fifteen equality advocates blocked the entrance to anti-gay Utah Republican Governor Gary Herbert's office to demand action on SB 100, a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Fox 13's Ben Winslow reports:
The group began standing in front of the governor's office doors about 9:30 a.m. Monday. By mid-day, they had blockaded several people from getting to appointments. Governor's staffers ferried those people in and out through side doors...
The Utah Highway Patrol was reluctant to arrest the demonstrators. Instead, they have tried to negotiate with them to step away. SB 100 sponsors Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, and Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, were also called to try to negotiate wit the demonstrators, who refused to move.
"I don't want to see anyone arrested," Urquhart said, pleading with the protesters to give him time to approach the Senate GOP caucus, or to set up a town hall meeting next week to talk about SB 100.
The demonstrators refused to budge.
As the hours dragged on, the protestors sat in front of the governor's office. Senate leadership insisted that SB 100 would not likely make it out of the rules committee, as it did not have the votes.
Protester and equality advocate Troy Williams wasn't buying the state's claim that it can't act on LGBT-related bills during the appeal of its marriage discrimination amendment.
"Amendment 3 is a convenient excuse not to be heard," he said. "We demand to be heard!"
At about 12:40 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. Eastern Time), Winslow tweeted that the SB 100 equality advocates moved to block access to a Utah Senate committee hearing room, barring people from attending a scheduled meeting. Arrests started twenty minutes later.
Image source: Ben Winslow, Twitter.