Utah Rep. Ben McAdams votes yes on gay rights bill. But he says there's still work to do

Rep. Ben McAdams hopes the Equality Act's uncertain fate in the Senate will present an opportunity to build bridges between opposing sides. And he wants to be a part of that.

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  • Gary Lawlor Orem, UT
    June 6, 2019 4:39 p.m.

    Having two healthy, strong political parties is important for any state or nation. Otherwise we risk becoming too one-sided on important issues. As a Republican, I hope the Democratic Party in Utah will have a healthy effect on broadening our views and balancing our ideas. Unfortunately, in my opinion Ben McAdams has weakened his party in the state, with his vote on the Equality Act. He has diminished the trust that voters will feel they can invest, when, in the future, a thoughtful, intelligent person of integrity runs as a Democrat and promises to represent Utahns' values.

    I do feel betrayed as a conservative citizen of Utah, but I also feel that his own party has been betrayed by this action.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    May 20, 2019 12:31 p.m.

    PDN said: "Religious freedom does not give anyone the right to discriminate in the public square. "

    It does give them the right to practice their religion in the public square. Religious persons in business should be able to sell their products and services to whomever they want. That isn't discrimination, especially when there are others who are able to provide the same services. Just buy from someone that doesn't care about religion instead of someone who wants to live theirs and get out from behind the mask of calling it "discrimination." A person in business has freedom, too, not constraint, unless you live in a communist state.

  • poyman Draper, UT
    May 19, 2019 1:55 p.m.

    @pdn in slc

    "...To those of you who believe that the religious protections in the Utah law would protect a baker who discriminates against LGBQT people, you are wrong. It does not..."


    Actually, I think that you might be wrong. As far as I know there has not been a test case on Religious Protection for Landlords vs LGBTQ that has reached the Supremes... But I believe the Colorado case does have some application when one does get heard... Will it be enough? Who knows, the proof will be in the pudding and until we have a case I don't think we know the answers.

    I am a Religion Protection guy and I am hopeful that such a test happens soon as I like the current make up of the court for this issue.

  • poyman Draper, UT
    May 19, 2019 1:44 p.m.


    "...the right to practice one's religion is not absolute. It does not create a right to harm others, and discrimination harms others. Laws that protect discrimination (harm) based solely on religious conviction violate another part of the First Amendment: freedom FROM religion. They are unconstitutional..."

    So what you are saying is that newly instituted laws giving a group of people with same sex preferences a "protective class designation" trumps "religious freedom" which was included in the first writing of the constitution over 200 years ago? Nice try, but I don't think so... In fact, I totally disagree. We cannot have it both ways... There is a conflict and one protected group wins and one loses... And based on your above declaration it appears that argument is a loser.

    I believe that the Supreme's have already ruled on current law just recently "Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission ".

    In that case Phillips, the owner of a Colorado bakery, told a same-sex couple that he would not make a wedding cake for a same sex couple... The couple filed a charge under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act... and Phillips won. Sorry.

  • stand up for truth Lehi, UT
    May 19, 2019 10:39 a.m.

    Ben, you made the wrong decision on this. I hope you learn from it and never repeat it this scenario of trying to please your colleague Dems over God and your constituents.

    As I see it, you compromised your integrity on this. It was not only a betrayal of Utahns but your God, assuming you really have LDS beliefs. It clearly favors a minority over others who, by the way, would like to practice their religion without sanctions and ridicule, just like the ones you voted for, who, without this bill, already have the protections guaranteed in the constitution.

    Fortunately, we have a conservative majority in the Senate and a President who will not go along as you have with the liberal House.

    May 19, 2019 10:18 a.m.

    The misinformation and fear mongering from those opposing the Equality Act is disheartening at best and outright dishonest at the worst. Like any legislation, including the Utah law that includes protections for religious liberty, the ultimate determining law is the US Constitution. Neither a State nor the US Congress can pass a law that violates the protections to religion granted by the US Constitution. Nothing they can add to the Equality Act can circumvent the protections of the US Constitution. LGBQT need the protections provided by the Equality Act because unlike religion, their rights have not been protected by Local, State and the Federal governments. To those of you who believe that the religious protections in the Utah law would protect a baker who discriminates against LGBQT people, you are wrong. It does not. It does not protect a landlord who discriminates against LGBQT people. It does not protect a private employer. Religious freedom does not give anyone the right to discriminate in the public square. If you want to do that, you will need to do that in the confines of your own home.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    May 19, 2019 1:03 a.m.

    How can this bill be "historic". if it has very little chance of passing the senate?

  • tsobserver Mapleton, UT
    May 18, 2019 9:14 p.m.

    Party Trumps religious freedom! No surprise!

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    May 18, 2019 9:03 p.m.

    I've never known a single Democrat who put "Principle" and "Faith", before Party.

    This guy is exactly who we warned all of you about.

    18 more months Ben, and then you can move on.

  • VA Saint Colonial Heights, VA
    May 18, 2019 8:22 p.m.

    Disappointed. Say goodbye to Title IX!

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    May 18, 2019 8:16 p.m.

    This country needs to wake up. Constitudnts in Utah county ought to wake up. As usual, but it may not be for long, those that choose good are a slim margin over those that choose evil. The ERA almost passed, but was defeated, thus protecting women from the philosophies of men. Now, we have another travesty that will luckily be blocked by the Senate and a great president. However, it shows once again how men seeking power will destroy freedom and liberty. Ben Adams should be voted out asap, but not replaced by someone who is just like him. Beware. Our country needs statesmen and principled leaders, not someone joining in the destruction of our nation.

    May 18, 2019 7:11 p.m.

    Translation: McAdams always votes with the Democrats but pretends to be independent.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    May 18, 2019 6:57 p.m.

    Thank you Ben.

    You are a true man of God. Each of us are children of God and do not deserve being discriminated against because of the way we were born. Bigotry is not something Jesus would have preached, and didn't .

  • SUUstudent Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2019 6:43 p.m.

    Campaigns one way, gets elected and goes another way. Why I could never be a politician.

  • intrinsicrewards Salem, VA
    May 18, 2019 6:08 p.m.

    The good people of Utah now are getting schooled that there are no more Democrats left that will give them voice in the DC sewer spite of the many promises made to get their vote. Elections have consequences but by 2020, a much more sophisticated House Representative with lots of cash talk will emerge and people will believe once again that Ben is their man.

    May 18, 2019 6:03 p.m.

    Transgender issues are more complex than the LGB issues in terms of fairness (athletic competition) and logistics (fear of biological men in women's locker rooms and restrooms).
    Issues of conscience grounded in religious liberty are more straightforward. Example: if my religion says your religion is an abomination, and if First Amendment religious liberty is absolute, I have a right to discriminate against or otherwise harm you according to my religious conscience. But the right to practice one's religion is not absolute. It does not create a right to harm others, and discrimination harms others. Laws that protect discrimination (harm) based solely on religious conviction violate another part of the First Amendment: freedom FROM religion. They are unconstitutional.
    We justifiably discriminate against people by punishing them if they have first harmed others, such as by breaking laws that exist to protect us from harm. Laws against unjustified discrimination serve the same purpose. There is no generally observable reason (harm caused) to justify discrimination against (harm to) LGBTQs or anyone who lives responsibly, respectfully and caringly toward others.

  • Donald Johnson Northern, MI
    May 18, 2019 5:44 p.m.

    Very disappointed that he, considering the district he represents, would vote for a bill that would create so many problems for BYU as a religious school. He clearly prioritizes his party over his constituents.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    May 18, 2019 4:51 p.m.

    The freshman Representative from Utah just made the most serious mistake of his political life. He has forfeited any chance of being elected in 2020. Utah is the most conservative State in the Nation and he voted for the most liberal bill in the House. He is so out of touch with the people of Utah that he deserves nothing but a quick exit from the House. As bad as Mia Love was, she would never have voted for that bill. As far as I'm concerned, nothing that he could say excuses his action. He just doesn't get it. He is not there in the House to please Nancy Pelosi. He is there to represent the people of Utah.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 18, 2019 4:49 p.m.

    "He says he's a member of the Church, but he co-sponsored and voted for a bill that the Church came out against."

    Politicians should think for themselves.

    Having said that, all the Democrats in congress said they were more liberal than the GOP and now they are coming out against the First Amendment, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, etc.

    If they can do that, it should be pretty simple for Ben McAdams to go against the LDS church.

    The polarity of US politics has flipped. The GOP are now the liberal party.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 18, 2019 4:42 p.m.

    "HR5 does not, nor could any legislation, supersede the First Amendment," he said, explaining that the bill complies with existing civil rights law."

    I am confused. Title IX requires schools to have women sports. Now, any man who says that he feels he is a woman can compete against women for scholarships. Women are being redefined out of existence.

    In one case in Canada, a battered women's shelter would not permit a man who felt that he was a woman to use the women's shelter. He sued and the battered women's shelter lost their public funding.

  • Really!? Logan, UT
    May 18, 2019 3:51 p.m.

    This is what happens when you have a dem representing the people. They vote for what the party tells them to vote for and not what the people want. First of all, shame on the people who voted for him and next, shame on him for voting for this horrendous bill.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    May 18, 2019 3:08 p.m.

    People trying to control other people is dangerous. All faiths including atheists try to control each other. Let’s live in harmony.

  • Ms.W South Jordan, UT
    May 18, 2019 3:02 p.m.

    "I voted for it because it's a step in the right direction"

    Towards what? The democratic party has clearly laid out their intent to force Christians into total subjugation, to radical sexual deviancy.

    The party's platform even states " We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate".

    If this bill passes you can expect to see in America a continuing division, an increase in suicide, a continuing decrease in population, a regression of women's rights , and an enabling of more relativity and subjective truth.

    Back in the day, America once had a shared sense of morality and values. That's the only way we can enjoy our freedoms in this country.

  • PorLibertad Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2019 2:50 p.m.

    What? I thought we voted for a candidate who was balanced and wise. To vote for this bill was not wise, it was shameful beyond understanding. Obviously Ben does not understand the values of a majority of voters who supported him in the last election. Amazing how a misguided vote on a single issue dooms a politician’s political future. Sad Ben!

  • Uteofferouus Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2019 2:34 p.m.

    Should be an easy road to victory for whom ever runs against Representative McAdams next election. I certainly will support whom ever runs against him!

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2019 2:25 p.m.

    One and done Mr. McAdams. You just lost the next election on this one single vote. Too bad that you lost sight of doing what is right!

  • birwin Herrmian, UT
    May 18, 2019 2:16 p.m.

    Thank you, Ben

  • poyman Draper, UT
    May 18, 2019 1:04 p.m.

    It seems as though politics in the state of Utah has taken a very sharp turn to the left. Adams is in lock step with Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and the 3 renegade freshman members of the House (AOC, Omar and Tlaib).

    This is not the Utah I know... I am hoping that in 2020 the Beehive state replaces Adams and demands that Romney begin representing the true values of the voters in this state. We are a conservative force in this country and it's time we get back to conservative values.

  • t_mca Herriman, UT
    May 18, 2019 12:35 p.m.

    He says he's a member of the Church, but he co-sponsored and voted for a bill that the Church came out against. Maybe he should pick a side instead of sitting on the fence.

  • ERB Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 18, 2019 10:42 a.m.

    Ben should’ve stayed in his previous position. He could’ve been there for a long time. After his short stay in DC, I’m not sure what he’s going to do. He promised he would not be a lackey for Pelosi but that is exactly what he is and how he votes. I don’t even think the election’s going to be close and we don’t even know who he’s running against yet. He barely beat a week in incumbent. I would be shocked if he gets within five percentage points next election.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    May 18, 2019 10:19 a.m.

    The national gop calling McAdams a socialist is a new low and also show how dirty politics is.

    I didn’t vote for him but I might consider it in the next election.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    May 18, 2019 10:06 a.m.

    Why not take Ben up on his challenge? This newspaper writes endless stories on Religious Liberty vs LGBTQ Liberty. Why not get the stake holders together with some lawmakers like Ben and Mitt and come up with a specific compromise amendment? Its better than talking in circles which is what both sides are doing right now.

  • Jeffsfla Glendale, CA
    May 18, 2019 9:56 a.m.

    It is nice to see Utah doing what is right and just.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 18, 2019 9:52 a.m.

    " "not balanced and does not meet the standard of fairness for all.""

    -- Not allowing religious people to discriminate "does not meet the standard of fairness for all". How Orwellian!

    "Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, called the process a "wasted opportunity" to find common ground between the needs of the LGBTQ community and religious objectors to same-sex marriage and gender identity."

    -- There can be NO "common ground" that allows religious business owners to discriminate against LGBT citizens. Full equality is the Fair and Balanced approach.


    The "Utah Compromise" STILL ALLOWS businesses (any business!) to discriminate against LGBT customers - as such it is flawed.


    If you want to discriminate give up your own non-discrimination protections.

    @Red Smith;

    How does giving LGBT people the SAME rights you enjoy "more rights"?


    Couldn't care less if you "accept" me or not. But I'll be darned if I'll let you discriminate against me in public - especially for superstitious nonsense.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    May 18, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    Women you need to take notice here. This bill obliterates your protection under the law, all transgenders will have priority and access to all women’s sports, bathrooms, locker rooms and more. You Utah voters who put McAdams into congress get what you deserve! Elections do have consequences.

  • DesolationIsComing Logan, UT
    May 18, 2019 9:25 a.m.

    Congratulations, voters of Utah! You replaced an excellent representative, Mia Love, with someone who does not represent your values and interests. You now get what you deserve.

    When the wicked rule, the people mourn.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    May 18, 2019 9:20 a.m.

    He did the right thing, no matter the final result.

    And the smears are already starting.

    Good for him.

  • Basketballgirl75 Provo, , UT
    May 18, 2019 9:00 a.m.

    Thank you Ben.

  • The Trooper Riverton, UT
    May 18, 2019 8:59 a.m.

    The only reason he has a seat is because he ran against a weak incumbent. He campaigned on how he was not going to be soldier for Pelosi. We can see how well that is going to go. If he voted for this bill, then he is just another member of the Democrat caucus. Fortunately, he is a one term congressman.

  • Tennislady SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    May 18, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    One tricky part of this bill is "gender identity". Biological sex will not matter. One place where this is causing problems is women's sports. Trans women Andraya Yearwood And Terry Miller finished first and second in the in the 55-meter dash at the state open indoor track championships in Connecticut. They will be taking scholarships from biological women. Trans women hold titles in cycling, weightlifting, and other sports. It should be an interesting 2020 Olympics. Iran's women's soccer team has 8 (out of 10) players who are biological men. Expect women's tennis, with its huge payouts, to be invaded. Martina Navratilova does.
    This is also causing problems in prison housing. Karen White, a trans woman in prison in the UK (on sex related charges) assaulted women in her prison.
    So thanks Rep. McAdams for voting for a sloppy bill that will privilege trans women over biological women.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    May 18, 2019 8:44 a.m.

    Regarding the Equality (mislabeled) Act:
    Most constituents - NO
    Largest Church in Utah (of which he is a member) - NO
    Pelosi and Democrats - YES
    Ben McAdams - YES

    Remember this, voters in this district, when the next election rolls around. There is indeed "more work to do" by those casting ballots.

    (Note to Utah County: Fix your polling places so the next election more people will be able to vote, please.)

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    May 18, 2019 8:16 a.m.

    One term Ben. If the Bill "needs work" then you vote NAY! This is the problem with our elected officials they are always doing a half blank job. McAdams is just another leftist liberal in lockstep with the Pelosi gang. He is not a free or critical thinker in the least. We have one and only of those and his name is Mitt.

  • Stacey23 Westminster, CO
    May 18, 2019 7:45 a.m.

    This is excellent news! Now I know who to vote against in the next election, regardless who the opponent is.

  • dski Herriman, UT
    May 18, 2019 7:34 a.m.

    Oh my! How thoughtful of Ben for his vote. And then build a bridge to top it off? As long as religion declares homosexuality as a sin, it will be vehemently opposed in every turn. This bill is not about rights and equality. It is about accepting homosexuality as normal and religion as evil. Little by little, religion will be viewed as the cause of society’s problems. But Ben is a man of faith, he said. Words and actions are supposed to mirror each other. Politics of course! Not what I say but what I do. Good luck on that bridge to nowhere, Ben!

  • TKB Provo, UT
    May 18, 2019 7:10 a.m.

    Mr. McAdams has a dilemma unique to Utah Democrats in the reddest of red states. On the one hand, he has to appeal to his mostly middle to the ​right constituency to secure his re-electability and distance himself from the far left DNC political platform while at the same time reassure his far left party leadership that he is a loyal soldier and worthy of meaningful committee roles. His effort to walk the tight rope by saying, “I am sensitive to many of my constituents' concerns. . . and support ongoing discussions and engagement” along with “While I cosponsored the bill, I am continuing to advance the dialogue in the lead-up to the vote.” is a cop out and the language of an equivocating politician who is trying to have it both ways. It remains to be seen if his comment, "But there is more work to do. There is still time to have that bridge building dialogue, and I plan to be part of that dialogue” is a reality or wishful thinking. It appears that his full-suited campaign showers were taken in lukewarm water not likely to clean any dirt off of anyone. He does not represent Utah values and my hope is that he will end up being a one-term representative.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2019 7:09 a.m.

    Double-talk, Mr. McAdams.

  • Red Smith , 00
    May 18, 2019 7:08 a.m.

    Why should any group of people have more rights than another like Church goers?

  • Nichol Draper West Jordan, UT
    May 18, 2019 6:59 a.m.

    The Equality Act is nothing more than hate put into law. Women athletes will lose all scholarships to men who can self identify as women. Double speak by Ben, still doesn't show why people from Utah supported this man. It makes me sad that he is my representative. I hope you are embarrassed if you voted for him.

  • ji_ Ketchikan, AK
    May 18, 2019 6:41 a.m.

    It probably would have been better if the congressman had missed the vote while calling for more discussion. The measure would have passed even with his abstention, and then he could have been part of the reconciliation effort.

  • RFJ , 00
    May 18, 2019 5:56 a.m.

    Ben McAdams campaigned he would not vote for Pelosi. But, certainly he votes with her. Dissent is not tolerated.

  • Yar Springville, UT
    May 18, 2019 5:36 a.m.

    Well Mr. McAdams. I hope you know what you’re doing. I feel grave concern that this bill will be used as a weapon to bully those who do not share the same views as the majority does on this sensitive topic. Nonetheless, if you’re sure that passing this bill as currently written will lead to an anti-discrimination law that will make everyone including me happy (probably through editing the bill to improve it), I will trust you. I still respect you as my representative of Utah and I know that you only desire to act in our state's best interest. Despite my disagreement with this bill, I wish you good luck on this bill! I have confidence you won’t let us down!

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    May 18, 2019 5:22 a.m.

    Hope Ben has a local job lined up because he won’t be in DC too much longer

    Just another foot soldier for the Democrats who are moving left in a hurry

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    May 18, 2019 1:14 a.m.

    "... to clarify whether the bill would change the existing religious exemptions in the Civil Rights Act for houses of worship or clergy."

    Institutions and the full time individuals who work there are only a small part of the issue. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people should also be concerned with impact on individuals. Religion is not so much a building, it is how we as individuals live our lives. The intent of the first amendment was not so much to protect organizations as it was to prevent the government from dictating to me what my religious beliefs and practices should be. By prohibiting freedom of religious belief as a legal defense, this bill attempts to force me to accept the government's idea of what my religion should be and negates the purpose of the first amendment.

    Mr. McAdams, I see this as a direct attack on the constitution and on me personally. The bridges you are attempting to build do not lead anywhere I want to go.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    May 17, 2019 11:40 p.m.

    Of course, he did. He's a leftist Democrat.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    May 17, 2019 10:51 p.m.

    Awesome! That’s why we voted for you when we lived in Saratoga springs! This is the type of representation Utah needs! This is why you won! Our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve to be protected!

  • Occidentali Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2019 10:35 p.m.

    Whenever you hear Democrats talking about "bridge building" beware. The real intent is to co-opt any dissension from the leftist agenda. What exactly are they willing to concede in order to "build bridges?"

  • ERB Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 17, 2019 10:08 p.m.

    Ben is constantly doing what he can to make Derek Brown’s job easy. This’ll be a blowout loss for Ben.

  • Cougalum St. George, UT
    May 17, 2019 9:26 p.m.

    Remember this betrayal on the next Election Day. The Senate’s blocking of this anti religion monstrosity will not save you, Ben. Tick, tick, tick, ... tick. Please everyone mark your calendars for November 2020!

  • Cougalum St. George, UT
    May 17, 2019 9:15 p.m.

    McAdams: A step in the right direction? He admitted that the bill did not protect religious liberty and with legislative double speak claimed there was work to do on the bill all the while knowing the Democrats world never entertain any amendments to protect religion and knowing he was going to vote for it no matter what. Rather than stand up and do the right thing, he betrayed the people of Utah. And no, we will not forget it even though the Senate and our senators will not let it become law. I can’t wait for the next election. This betrayal will change the prior extremely close election result, as it should.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    May 17, 2019 9:00 p.m.

    Another party line vote over Utah values from Ben McAdams.

    The Utah compromise was the right way to go. But back in DC, McAdams quickly votes for the radical national Democrat agenda running roughshod over not only religious liberties but also freedom of/from speech, expression, and association.

    As written, this bill could destory the ability of BYU to maintain its honor code while any of its students use Pell Grants or federal loans to pay for school. It is a terrible bill intended to punish dissent far more than secure any rights.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    May 17, 2019 7:12 p.m.

    Good man. He is the least "partisan" of our Utah delegation, with Mitt Romney coming in a close 2nd.

    Well done, Ben, you are good and faithful as a servant of the people of Utah.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 17, 2019 7:00 p.m.

    « HR5 does not, nor could any legislation, supersede the First Amendment," he said, explaining that the bill complies with existing civil rights law. »
    Well, this is exactly what is happening in various states, so someone is really naive.

    Kind of like when some give lip service for something and then vote the opposite.