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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Utah's Delicate Arch serves as site for gay rights rally

Gay-rights activists in Utah will rally at one of the state's important symbols - Delicate Arch.

On Saturday, people plan to gather in view of the treasured redrock formation to rally support for Equality Utah's Common Ground Initiative.

The effort is a collection of five bills, aimed at the upcoming legislative session, that would provide legal protections to same-sex couples, such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights, and forbid discrimination against gay and transgender people in employment and housing.

Delicate Arch is "an important symbol for all Utahns," said organizer Michael Mueller, founder of the Facebook community Utahns for Marriage Equality. "We're all Utahns first - gay, straight, whatever."

Mueller, who is straight and married, said, "There are certain rights that all people should have."

Participants will gather in the Delicate Arch parking lot at Arches National Park near Moab from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and then walk to a viewpoint for a rally.

Speakers will include Salt Lake City Democratic Rep. Christine Johnson, who is sponsoring a Common Ground bill; Claudia Bradshaw, founder of the St. George chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends).

Marriage Equality USA explains the event on its website

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