Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gay-Rights Push Suffers Setback in Utah

In the wake of the negative backlash over its role in the passage of Proposition 8, the Mormon Church issued a number of mealy mouth statements that it wasn't against gays and did not oppose the extension of certain legal protections to gays. As the saying goes, talk is cheap and it looks like the Mormons basically were telling lies merely to deflect some of the heat they were feeling at the time the disingenuous statements were made. Equality Utah decided to call the Mormons' bluff and helped orchestra the introduction of series of gay-rights bills in the Utah a legislature. Not surprising the lies of the Mormon Church are being confirmed as the first of the bills goes down to defeat at the hands of the largely Mormon controlled legislature. Are the Mormons trying to prove to the Christianists that they are just as big of liars as the Christianists? Here are highlights from the Salt Lake Tribune:
On day two of the 2009 Legislature, the first in a series of gay-rights bills -- seemingly the least controversial piece in the Common Ground Initiative -- died Tuesday in the Senate judiciary committee. The early setback doesn't bode well for Equality Utah's campaign, possibly the most expansive legislative push for gay rights in state history.
"The very fact that this didn't even get out of Senate committee . . .is clearly a bad sign for other parts of this initiative," University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank said. Equality Utah's drive -- crafted in response to statements the LDS Church has made that it does not oppose some rights for same-sex couples -- includes creating a statewide domestic-partner registry and protecting someone from being fired or evicted for being gay.
A standing-room-only crowd listened to nearly two hours of testimony before the committee, led by Republican Sen. Chris Buttars, voted 4-2 against sending the measure to the Senate floor. Only McCoy, who is openly gay, and fellow Salt Lake City Democrat Ross Romero voted for the bill. Buttars, who was lobbied by a group of gay and bisexual activists at his West Jordan home earlier this month, didn't comment on McCoy's proposal during the meeting.
Opponents likened the bill to a "slippery slope" and a "dirty shirt" in a laundry basket of marital rights that could lead courts to justify legalizing same-sex marriage, similar to rulings in Massachusetts, California and Connecticut.
Equality Utah executive director Mike Thompson stayed upbeat about the remaining three bills in the initiative. "I still believe we are standing on common ground," he said. "The Tribune poll and our poll demonstrate that the average Utahn supports what we're doing. The Legislature just needs to catch up."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, while the Mormons said they supported civil rights for gays (I forget what it was exactly), they never took up Equality Utah's challenge.

Whatever. This is what happens when all people demand of politicians is that they pass a religious test.