Mormon Utah Legislators Oppose Even the Slightest of Gay Rights

Timothy Kincaid

January 27th, 2009

You may recall that the Mormon Church claimed that they don’t object to “rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches”. And you may recall that Equality Utah called their bluff and asked for Mormon support for five bills that would allow for just those rights.

And you may even recall that polls showed that Mormons in Utah generally will oppose anything whatsoever if it appears that gay people might want it.

Well we now have the answer to the first of the five bills. Senate Bill 32 would allow individuals who rely on a breadwinner to sue for wrongful death. Currently Utah law limits those who can sue to only spouses, parents and children.

Let me be clear. There is no legitimate reason to exclude those who rely on someone for their livelihood from suing should that livelihood be taken away due to the wrongful actions of another. If a woman is killed directly due to the reckless or wrongful actions of another, why should her partner who stays home and raises the kids not be able to sue?

But because this bill was understood to benefit (among others) those gay persons who rely on each other, Sen. Buttars’ committee killed the bill 4 – 2.

And did the Mormon Church live up to its claim? Did it encourage its members to allow for probate rights for gay couples? Let’s see.

Voting “no” were:

Chris Buttars, Mormon
Lyle Hillyard, Mormon
Mark Madsen, Mormon
Michael Waddoups, Mormon

The three non-Mormons either voted Yes or were absent.

There is no way to explain the action today other than in terms of bias, bigotry, or downright hatred.

The more I experience the actions of those in leadership positions or those who have power withing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the more I become convinced that this organization is an instrument of organized homophobia and that there are no rights, no equalities, no measures of freedom for gay men and women that are too small for them to let pass unopposed.

Scot

January 28th, 2009

My husband and I live in Utah. He takes care of our twins and I was very hopeful this bill would pass and give us a modicum of the security other families here enjoy for themselves.

I was also very hopeful the LDS church would say something to help, but figured this would happen when they had their meeting with GOP lawmakers and the LDS leaders primarily focused on changing our liquor laws. They would only “refer to their past statements” on these bills, which many LDS here are taking to mean they are okay with these rights for families in Ca and don’t want to take them away, but don’t support them in Utah either.

Anyway, thanks for posting on a state most write off as too red for gay rights.

box turtle reader

January 28th, 2009

Well, I hope you all will listen to those of us who know this organization inside and out and take our advice when we tell you they will always say one thing then go ahead and do another. Behind all the pretty pr and flowery words is a viciously homophobic and anti-equality group. Now you know.

Pender

January 28th, 2009

I’ve been saying this for years. People started to listen after Prop 8 passed, but we still see people trying to reason with or win over the LDS Church.

Will never happen.

They are an implacable enemy. Trying to bring them around makes as little sense as conducting outreach on the KKK during Jim Crow. It’s a mistake, and it’s a costly one: negotiating with them wastes our time and resources.

John

January 28th, 2009

These Mormons seem to have some pretty tight control over their people. It really is sad that the Mormons are so hateful and bigotted. There won’t be any change in this bigotted church/political organization unless those in the pews stand up. They may hate being called bigots, but we need to keep loudly calling them bigots until they give us reasons not to.

Mark C

January 28th, 2009

Having graduated from BYU and lived another 7 years in Salt Lake, I can tell you there is little-to-no separation of church and state in Utah.

To that point, I remember being in church (while an active Mormon) and listening to a speaker tell how an LDS General Authority gave a blessing to his father, a former mayor of Logan, Utah, to guide him in his efforts to be “faithful public servant.” I was speechless. Even in church as an active Mormon, I couldn’t concieve of such a blatant act of theocratic control over an elected official – but there it was.

Progress on LGBT issues in Utah will only occur by way of negative exposure of the influence of the LDS in politics, a swift cultural shift favoring fairness and perhaps a watering-down of the LDS population from outsiders moving to Utah.

At any rate, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Progress there will take decades, if ever.

cowboy

January 28th, 2009

The Mormon/LDS Leaders say one thing but the more vocal and strident conservative Mormons control the legislature. I’m not sure all the power is at the LDS Church headquarters. We have a faction of Mormons who disagree with the LDS Leaders all the time. Utah’s Governor (a Mormon) has asked to abolish Utah private clubs but that initiative is dead.

The control of the Legislature is, can I say, by a band of renegade conservatives. The Eagle Forum, the Sutherland Institute, et al lobbies and get their people voted back each election.

I’m sure the folk sitting across the street from Temple Square at the Sutherland Institute nearly shit a brick when the LDS made the statements about giving gays some semblance of equality. I’m not sure if the LDS Church made a PR blunder as a reaction to the public outcry or if the Leadership was truly offering a conciliatory olive branch to the gays. But, that didn’t sit well with a lot of conservative Mormons.

But it doesn’t matter. When FOUR of a certain part of members of the Mormon Church can so blithely vote on such a powerful initiate and kill it.

But I was hoping for more of a public debate. A chance for every-day Mormons to voice their opinion instead of the hyper-ultra-strident conservatives at the Legislature. However, I doubt I will hear many pro-gay voices…the economy is foremost on the minds of the citizens.

Mike B.

January 28th, 2009

Chris Buttars also oversaw (oversees?) what one of its victims calls a “Mormon Gulag,” where LDS children are brutally tortured into following the dictates of the church. As you can imagine, gays are especially brutalized, and Buttars seems to have adapted well to his role as a concentration camp administrator.

Here’s a testimonial from one of Buttars’ victims: http://orato.com/lifestyles/2009/01/02/trapped-mormon-gulag?page=1

And here’s the Mormon Gulag site: http://www.mormongulag.com

Sapphocrat

January 28th, 2009

Having grown more familiar with the Mormon church, and its deathgrip on Utah politics, than I ever wanted to be thanks to its most recent war on LGBTs, I don’t understand why anyone even tries to gain any semblance of equality in that hellhole called Utah.

It’s like trying to win equal rights in Saudi Arabia; the only dofference is that Saudi Arabia readily admits it is a theocracy.

While commenting on the overwhelming gratitude she received for appearing at some gay event in Utah years ago, Suzanne Westenhoefer said she felt like sending buses in to get the gays out, ending with words to the effect of: “You can leave, you know!”

I know: People stay where they have family and friends. But having experienced, in the wake of Prop 8, a pain so deep that I am at times tempted to abandon my beloved home state of California (where we’ve got it awfully good even in spite of Prop 8), I cannot begin to imagine how any LGBT person could bear to live in Utah for more than two minutes.

No “50-state strategy” will ever work with that backward theocracy. I agree with Mark C, particularly on the idea that “Progress on LGBT issues in Utah will only occur by way of negative exposure of the influence of the LDS in politics.” This not only rings true in my gut (and always has), but has been echoed and confirmed repeatedly by more than a few ex-Mormons with whom I’ve corresponded since the church launched its war on gays outside the Utah borders.

Bottom line: Pro-equality legislation in Utah is a waste of time. The best we can hope for is to expose the church for what it is, shock the hell out of more reasonable citizens with the truth of the Mormon agenda, and ultimately keep its radical ideology confined to one state.

cowboy

January 28th, 2009

Sapphocrat,
Speaking for myself, a gay Utahn: I don’t need your pity or suggestion to leave this State. I make do. I think you might be surprised at how vibrant the gay community is here. We have our oases from our version of the Taliban. There are gay-friendly places to live, gay-friendly Churches, gay-friendly bars and gay-friendly B&Bs and a network of gays…which has the requisite “A”-list gays and their various cliques like most other major cities.

We let the people behind the granite walls of Vatican West (aka Temple Square) have their ceremonies and rituals and we make our own kind of fun. Part of the fun is making Mormons feel uncomfortable. I think the ploy with illuminating Mormon bigotry is the right move…but it shouldn’t be the only course of action we need to take.

I’ll admit sometimes I try to isolate myself and avoid interacting with many Mormons by listening to my mp3 player with those in-the-ear-canal headphones. It’s amazing how people will leave you alone when you have two white cords hanging out your ears…

But, I just smile. Just around the corner is a hangout. The people are friendly. And the next thing to look forward to is our Ski ‘n Swim party next month.

Emily K

January 28th, 2009

i have to admit the idea of making mormon’s uncomfortable around me is very appealing. >:-}

Sapphocrat

January 28th, 2009

cowboy, it is neither suggestion nor pity — just complete incomprehension. If it hurts this badly to know that roughly every other person I meet on the street considers me less deserving of rights than a farm animal, the idea of living in a state controlled by overtly hostile anti-gay zombies is completely and utterly beyond my ken.

Kudos on your thick skin. I could never do it. Quite honestly, I’d rather be dead.

cd

January 28th, 2009

Actually, Sapphocrat, the point of 50 State Strategy is precisely to force as much of a contest as possible where the opponent has not had much competition to deal with.

One of the major objectives of it is exposure, just to show that the dominant political power there is sloppy, corrupted, and not that interested in the public welfare anymore.

Bonnie

January 28th, 2009

Kudos to the Mormon Utah Legislators!!!

Emily K

January 29th, 2009

lolz ‘n rofl @ bonnie the troll

Bruno

January 29th, 2009

Bonnie: Right on! Sieg heil the Fascist State of Utah!

Regan DuCasse

January 30th, 2009

Not that off topic, I suppose.
But I won’t forget how I felt at the time. About 20 years ago, I was in SLC with a tour, and it was nearly a week before I saw another black person.

In a city that size, and being from Los Angeles and used to all flavors and spices of person…
that experience in SLC creeped the hell out of me.

I have no idea what it’s like now, and even CA isn’t as gay friendly as I’d hoped considering the outcome of Prop. 8.

Some places, even in America segregate by attrition.
Make area of it too dangerous or unfriendly to be in….the object of segregation wouldn’t want to stay.

The complaint of Christians or Mormons is that the outcome of Prop. 8 has led to unintended outcomes they claim are harassment or threatening.

Considering the tone of their Yes on 8 ads…when HASN’T the opposition felt threatened by gay people?

cowboy

January 31st, 2009

Ms. DuCasse,

If you felt “creeped” out in Salt Lake City, I wouldn’t suggest going to Northern Idaho any time soon for a vacation.

Just as a personal side-note: I have a black person as my closest confidant at my work. I couldn’t survive without her. She brings me back to normalcy sometimes when I have to deal with the tide of ultra conservatives I have as co-workers.

It wasn’t until Salt Lake City was the host for some big Baptist convention that we had some “color”.

If you note the members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and count the number of blacks in the 300-member choir you might get an idea of the proportion of diversity in Utah. Not that it is a scientifically valid indication of our diversity but it might be close. We might have to wait for the census in 2010 to see exactly what our population consists of.

I haven’t heard of any tours of Northern Idaho but I understand there isn’t much demand for bus-loads of African-Americans going to Vermont either.

No?

Jeanine

February 15th, 2009

You know, every church will have it’s crazy people, weirdo’s and downright creeps. That is every religion. The actions of some people within a religion, especially when it isn’t an actual leader of the church, do not dictate what the actual religion believes.

Just because the mormons are against gay marriage, doesn’t mean they are ‘haters’. If you are entitled to be pro-gay marriage, then they should be entitled to be anti-gay marriage. Looking at it from the Mormons side, you are the biggots and the haters.

I somewhat agree that extremists on either side are ‘haters’ and kinda crazy. Churches like the mormons actually have good reasons for not wanting to legalize gay marriage. Legal implications for one, if a gay couple wants to be married in their temples. They say no, and get sued. Of course they will fight to keep it illegal. Duh.

Jeanine

February 15th, 2009

-Regan DuCasse-

Well, the people who were against porp 8 aren’t getting harassed as much. A lot of extremist pro-gays are used to being able to do what they want without consequences. All they need to say is, “You are just hating on me because I gay you hatemonger!” and the media is all over it. It’s kind of stupid. I don’t really see the point of the riots in California considering the vote is not over and more people wanted prop 8 than the ones that didn’t.

Just because there wasn’t a lot of racial diversity in SLC doesn’t mean there isn’t racial diversity elsewhere. That’s like going down to the Texas/Mexico border and saying, “Oh my gosh, there are barely any white/black/asian people here. I feel so creeped out.”

Gloria

February 15th, 2009

You know, as a mormon, I could say that a lot of you are biggots as well. Just because I don’t share your beliefs doesn’t make me evil.

Scott P.

February 15th, 2009

Well, Jeanine, duh, first, it’s “bigots”, only one g, second, your argument is fallacious. NO religion can be forced to marry anyone, PERIOD! That’s one of the fundamental rights in the U.S. Constitution.

Where, where, WHERE did this asinine argument come from? I’m assuming you’re getting this from the Methodist church in New Jersey that was PUBLICLY renting a pavilion out. The reason they were sued and lost was because it was a PUBLIC accommodation. When they stopped renting the space out, they were allowed to decide who could, and who COULD NOT get married there.

Since the Mormon (note the capital letter, since it’s a proper name) temples and ward-houses are NOT public, or rented to the public, they CANNOT be used in any way that contradicts the LDS faith. So stop with this idiotic argument now!

And, Gloria, since we didn’t vote on YOUR right to marry, just how ARE we supposed to view you? As an innocent bystander, or someone who voted to make us second-class citizens?

cowboy

February 15th, 2009

Jeanine,

You haven’t been harassed. Try wearing my boots for a while. I’ll give you some very personal examples if you would like.

Scott P.

February 15th, 2009

Jeanine, I just saw your rather asinine statement about “riots.”

What riots are you referring to? The rather mild protests that occurred here in Los Angeles and else where? My god, I remember my family telling me about the “riot” in Salt Lake City during the ’02 Olympics when the beer tent was shut down. A trash can was set on fire and a store window was broken. More real property damage happened during that pathetic excuse for a “riot” than happened in all of California in the aftermath of Prop. H8’s passage!

So many of you cried about a little spray paint on your temple guard walls, but we sure as hell didn’t hear any of you cry about “sacred church structures” when an M.C.C had it’s windows broken out! Gay-oriented, and even gay-friendly churches have been FIRE-BOMBED. Think that’s equal with a little spray-paint? Bet you do.

We keep hearing how all a gay couple needs to do is get a medical power of attorney drawn up to ensure hospital visits, et cetera. Ever hear about the lesbian couple in Florida where one collapsed just before a cruise vacation? The hospital refused, point-blank, to recognize the survivor’s P.O.A. and the patient died knowing her lover of many years, and their children, were being denied access in her last minutes. Bet you think that’s only right, huh?

If anyone in this country were to fire you for your religion, you’d have an automatic lawsuit. But in the majority of the states (including and especially, in Utah) a gay person can be fired just for being gay. Think that’s fair? I’ll bet you do.

Please, spare us your heterosexism.

John

February 15th, 2009

Based on Jeanine and Gloria’s comments, I am sure that they would not consider a law prohibiting the State of California from recognizing any marriage performed by a member of the Mormon clergy as being an example of bigotry.

And I am also sure that they would not consider an $80 million dollar campaign fight over whether to recognize Mormon marriages in California to be the least bit hate inspired.

Timothy Kincaid

February 16th, 2009

Dear Jeanine,

You may wish to recall that many of “the people who were against porp 8” had their marriages revoked.

So let me ask you, Jeanine, which would you rather have:

a) the amount of “harassment” that you have personally experienced so far for supporting Proposition 8, or

b) having your marriage revoked by a vote of stranger?

Dear Gloria,

No, you are not evil because you don’t share my beliefs.

But you do seek to give those who share your beliefs preference under the law and you seek to harm the lives and livelihoods of those who do not share your beliefs and you absolutely refuse to treat your neighbor as yourself.

So I’m curious, exactly what word would you use instead of evil to describe your attitude and behavior?

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