A bill to allow minority- and women-owned businesses to register as such passed a preliminary vote in the Senate Wednesday, after it was characterized as discrimination.

The Senate voted 19-6 to move HB99 to a final vote. Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake, sponsor said the bill is aimed at making it easier for companies, such as the University of Utah and Thiacol, that need to seek out women and minority-owned businesses for federal contracts.

But Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, said the bill seemed to make it a "negative" for white-male-owned businesses.

"I just want to register my continued frustration that it seems like the white male is such a burden, or a frustration to society," Dayton said. "I really have angst with the growing discrimination towards the white male, family-oriented Christian male."

Romero responded that the bill simply allows businesses to identify themselves and potentially participate in contracts.

"This bill doesn't have anything to do with Christianity or no-Christianity," he said. "It's good for our economy. It is benefiting key institutions in our state, which are certainly not minority owned, or women owned, for that matter."