Posts Tagged As: Mesa AZ

Mesa May Consider Domestic Partnerships

Jim Burroway

January 7th, 2009

This would be a welcome surprise:

Arizona’s most conservative big city may become only the third in the state to offer a domestic-partner registry to unmarried couples. Mesa Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh has been exploring the idea and has asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would allow people to register their relationships with the city. “It’s not creating gay marriage,” Kavanaugh said. “The sole purpose is to ensure visitation rights for people who are in unmarried-partner relationships.”

It’s no accident that this measure would be limited to one single benefit: hospital visitations. That’s the same limitation placed on Phoenix’s so-called domestic partnership registry. Tucson’s registry, created in 2003, is a tad more wide ranging, encompassing access to family rates at city park programs and other municipal benefits.

Even so, the mere possibility that Mesa might take up such a measure is a pleasant surprise. Mesa has a reputation for being the bastion of Mormonism in Arizona. It is the home to the oldest LDS Temple in Arizona, and more than one third of all donations made to the Yes on Proposition 102 campaign came from Mesa residents. But the fact that Salt Lake City has a similar registry might provide just enough political cover for this measure to make it’s way though Mesa’s city council. Stay tuned.

Vigil At Mesa, AZ Temple Tonight

Jim Burroway

November 28th, 2008

I wish I had found out about this earlier:

When Mormons light their massive and colorful Christmas displays tonight on the Mesa Arizona Temple grounds, thousands of candles may burn across the street in a vigil in Pioneer Park.

Vigil organizers call it a demonstration of solidarity for gays and lesbians seeking full civil rights. They say their vigil was precipitated by Mormons’ staunch opposition to same-sex marriage with passage of amendments to constitutions in Arizona, California and Florida in the Nov. 4 general election.

“We are not going to march. It is not a protest. We will have our candles,” said an organizer, Robert Parker, an outspoken gay Mormon from Mesa. Parker hopes to get 5,000 people to assemble in the park “to stand in solidarity with gay Mormons who are stuck in the closet and need to know that we are working to help secure their civil rights.”

Mormons in Arizona contributed at a minimum 40% — some say as much as 80% — of the $8 million raised to pass Prop 102 in Arizona. Prominent Mormons were also at the head of the official “Yes” campaign in support of Prop 102. But for all of that, Don Evans, spokesman for LDS church in Arizona, continues to express surprise at being “singled out”

This constitutional amendment was supported by the Catholic Church, which is far and away the largest church in Arizona, and it was also supported by the various evangelical congregations.” All of those churches consistently opposed same-sex marriages, but “our church has taken the lion’s share of the protest,” Evans said.

The LDS church has taken a lion’s share of the protest because the church took on a lion’s share of the work — running the campaigns as well as using LDS tithing rolls as a fundraising tool among church members. Evangelicals and Catholics, while supportive of the amendments, did not take nearly as prominent a role as the LDS church chose to take.

And when anyone chooses to insert themselves in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, they can expect to experience the political consequences and criticisms of their actions, be they a political party, James Dobson, Swift Boat Veterans, or the Mormon church.

And if any other group had gone in as deeply and as enthusiastically into this political fight as the Mormon church has, they’d be fair game for protests. We could just as easily be targeting General Motors if GM had played the role that the LDS leadership did. But GM didn’t put their reputations on the line and fight to strip people of rights that they already enjoyed. The LDS church did.

And they did it with Big Mormon Money and Big Mormon Organization. In Arizona’s example, they out-spent anti-102 forces by nearly 12-1. They are also under investigation in California for making unreported in-kind donations — providing for free the sort of services that campaigns typically have to pay for. The LDS Church provided free phone-banking, satellite broadcasts, travel, a web site, commercials, and so forth — all of which are reportable under California and Arizona law.

So because of all that, the LDS leaders are now political figures just like anyone else who organizes and executes a political campaign. And because they chose to exercise their rights to do that — and as citizens and under current IRS regulations, it is their right to do so — they are now subject to the same scrutiny and criticisms as any other political figures or organizations.

They have given up their right to be “puzzled” and pretend that they are just another church. They’re not. They are now political activists just like the rest of us. Welcome to our world.

See also:
LDS Church Can’t Hide Behind A Temple

Boos and Cheers for a Homecoming King

Jim Burroway

June 9th, 2008

Eighteen-year-old Kyle Hutchinson accomplished something that no one at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona, has ever done before. He was crowned king of the high school prom as an openly gay man.

Kyle’s parents were present when he was crowned king Saturday night amid cheers and boos:

“He kept telling me he was going to win, and he had convinced me,” said his mother, Doreen Hutchinson. “When they called his name, we heard the cheering, but then we immediately heard the boos,” she said. “My heart went into my stomach. It was so awful. My husband said he was expecting it, but I wasn’t prepared. It was so sad.”

Hutchinson said he felt bad that his parents had to hear his classmates who weren’t supporting him. But he also said their reaction is something he has known his whole life, and he wasn’t about to let it ruin his moment.

Kyle said he had always been picked on for not fitting in with the other boys in school. He came out to his parents on his sixteenth birthday, and he moved from his former high school to Red Mountain the following year, he started his first day of class being open about his sexuality. And while Mesa is known for having a large conservative Christian population, Kyle found that he had very few problems until his prom night.

Kyle was crowned king after winning the contest in a landslide, which is perhaps indicative of the changing attitudes among the younger generation — even among young conservative Christians, 80% of whom thought the church was “too anti-homosexual” in one recent survey.


Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.