2012 Endorsement Process
Equality Utah is proud of the endorsement process we’ve conducted this year. Candidates from across the political spectrum now stand with Equality Utah as fair-minded candidates working to secure a fair and just Utah.
Reaching out to candidates
After the Republican and Democratic State Conventions, we emailed all candidates, introducing Equality Utah and our endorsement process. We encouraged each candidate to respond to our survey and seek our endorsement. There were three categories each candidate would fit into when applying for an endorsement- Federal and State, Municipal, and School Board. Each candidate responded to yes or no questions relevant to the office to which they were seeking election. Candidates who answered yes to half plus one of the questions were granted interviews with our Interview Committee. Candidates who did not answer yes to half plus one question were told they were not eligible for an endorsement. Our questions focused on our current legislative and policy priorities, which at this time, does not include marriage equality. Utah has a constitutional ban on marriage titled Amendment 3. Amendment 3 defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The marriage ban goes further to deny the right of a civil union or any recognition of a relationship that is equivalent to a civil union or marriage. Equality Utah conducted polling in late 2011 that shows there is majority support for our current legislative and policy priorities. Marriage equality as well as civil unions still poll very low in Utah. BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy released a poll in February 2012 that clearly states 28% of Utahns support marriage equality, 43% support civil unions but not the right to legally marry, and 29% believe there should be no legal recognition of gay relationships. Combining the 28% and 43% inaccurately gives the impression that a majority of Utahns support marriage equality. Because of this evidence, marriage equality was not discussed in the interviews as part of our official interview questions.
Federal and State Questions
- Do you support the passage of non-discrimination ordinances in cities that lie within your respective district?
- Do you support the passage of a statewide non-discrimination policy for housing and employment that includes sexual orientation and gender identity?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows same-sex partners to visit each other in the hospital?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows same-sex partners to share health insurance?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows same-sex partners to inherit each other’s property?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows same-sex partners to enter into a contracts package?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows a child to be adopted by a non-biological parent (i.e. lesbian couples with children)?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows same-sex partners to adopt children in the state of Utah?
- Do you support the passage of legislation that allows same-sex partners to provide foster care?
- Do you support the passage of a municipal ordinance preventing discrimination in housing and employment that includes sexual orientation and gender identity?
- Do you support a municipal ordinance preventing bullying and hazing in school districts within your municipality?
- Do you support a municipal ordinance that would extend health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of employees within your municipality?
- Do you support establishing a mutual commitment registry, which guarantees hospital visitation and access to health insurance if an employer provides health insurance coverage to its employees?
School Board Questions
- Do you support a policy which includes sexual orientation and gender identity that will prevent bullying and hazing in schools?
- Do you support a policy that would extend health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of employees within your local school district?
- Do you support a policy that would extend health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of employees within the jurisdiction of the state school board?
- Do you support the creation of GSA’s (Gay Straight Alliances) in schools?
- Do you support a workplace nondiscrimination policy at the local and state school board level that includes sexual orientation and gender identity?
Our interview committee was comprised of board members, staff members, and community members. Each candidate interview had at least one staff member, two board members, and two community members, called interview teams. Each interview team was given information about the candidate, their opponent, and demographics of the race. Each candidate was scored based on three criteria; Viability, where they stood on our policy priorities, and if they were previously endorsed. Each candidate was asked a series of questions about their campaign, the effort they would give to winning, why they were seeking Equality Utah’s endorsement, and what kind of support they wanted should an endorsement be given. After each interview the candidate was excused; the interview team discussed the candidate, and made a recommendation to endorse or not to endorse.
- Why are you running for this office?
- Tell us about your experience.
- What are the three top priorities in your platform?
- Do you have a Campaign Manager?
- Do you have a campaign budget? How much is it going to cost you to run the type of campaign you wish to run?
- What kind of Media does it include?
- How many votes will it take you to win in your district?
- What is the partisan breakdown in your district? (i.e. Republicans, Democrats and Independents)
- What are the major concerns of the constituents in the district?
- Do you have anyone in your life that identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender?
- Why did you choose to fill out our Survey?
- Do you have any concerns about receiving an endorsement from Equality Utah?
- If you were to receive an endorsement, what kind of support would be most helpful?
Equality Utah’s Board of Directors considered the recommendation of the Interview Committee and made the final determination of each candidate’s endorsement. Equality Utah’s official endorsement roster was released on July 5th.