Senator says lawyer representing Utah in Amendment Three case has conflict of interest

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah Senator has said an outside lawyer representing Utah in the state’s appeal of a ruling that overturned Amendment Three should step down due to a conflict of interest.

Utah Senator Jim Dabakis, D-District 2, said attorney Gene Schaerr is also doing work for the Sutherland Institute, which is a Utah conservative group.

Dabakis said Schaerr told lawmakers not to pursue a statewide non-discrimination bill because it could impact the state’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that found the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The Sutherland Institute issued a statement in response: “Senator Dabakis’ conspiracy theory is ridiculous. Sutherland Institute opposed the moratorium agreement that killed the nondiscrimination bill.”

Utah Republican leaders recently said they didn’t want any bills regarding LGBT rights to be heard in the state’s current legislative session due to concerns debate over the bills could impact the state’s appeal. 

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