- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Mormon church says Utah lawmakers considering hate crimes legislation this year should not upset a balance they struck last year with an anti-discrimination law protecting both religious rights and LGBT rights.

The statement Wednesday afternoon from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in response to a proposal to beef up Utah’s hate crimes law and add new protections for gay and transgender people.

Church spokesman Dale Jones said in the statement that there are efforts from both ends of the political spectrum to upset that balance. Jones declined to elaborate.

Equality Utah director Troy Williams had no response to the statement Wednesday but said he and the bill sponsor, St. George Republican Sen. Steve Urquhart, would respond at a Thursday news conference.

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