Catholic Church parishioners in Utah are being urged by the Salt Lake City Diocese to join a push to repeal the death penalty in Utah during the next legislative session.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the Diocese quoted Pope Francis’s message to the U.S. Congress last September to quote “protect and defend human life at every stage of development” unquote, including those who have been sentenced for crimes. A proposal to repeal the death penalty in Utah passed the Senate last year by one vote but failed in the House. Republican Senator Lincoln Fillmore voted for the bill. He says society and lawmakers may need to do more soul searching to create policy that reflects Utah values.
“I don’t see evidence that it’s that much of a deterrence for crime and the way that it works from a logistical standpoint is that a death sentence is basically a life sentence in prison anyway.”
Fillmore says it’s not legislation he will be sponsoring but he does support further debate on the issue. Former Republican Senator Stephen Urquhart sponsored the bill in 2015. He has since resigned his seat in the State Senate to take a position at the University of Utah.