Tag Archives: equality

“Pursuit of Happiness”: Not if some legislators have their way….

.…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Are our state legislators really interested in the values of our Founding Fathers?  Or are they more interested in property rights…..including owning the "pursuit of happiness" as property?

The interference of such rights are at stake with HB 182, being introduced by Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-District 48.

Christensen (R-District 48) has reintroduced a bill he tried to pass in 2006 which prohibits same-sex couples from making contractual agreements, such as wills and financial arrangements.

The bill, known in 2006 as HB 304, but now as HB 182, slides in under the generic title “Voiding Transactions Against Public Policy,” and declares “an arrangement, agreement, or transaction that is illegal or against public policy to be void and unenforceable.”

HB 182′s language is virtually word-for word from the narrowly-defeated 2006 measure, and if passed, would strip even more rights away from the same-sex couples who depend on contractual arrangements, as Utah denies them any of the inherent protections afforded to heterosexual couples.

~ Eric Ethington

Not only is this bill a violation of the rights of human beings, it is based on the religious beliefs of some on what constitutes a "union" between two individuals.  It is part of their efforts  to do everything possible to impose those beliefs on others through bills such as this one which go so far as to invade the private business of individuals; not to mention that it is unenforceable.  Should a bill like this manage to get passed, everyone’s rights will be more at stake – regardless of gender preference.

Legislators such as Rep. Christensen are living a double standard.  They send messages with some bills that demand less interference from the federal government and claim to want to live the values of Founding Fathers of the United States.  Yet messages such as the degradation of the rights of human beings, as is the intent of HB 182, is antithetical to these other messages, which intend to infringe upon the "unalienable Rights" endowed by the Creator, including the "pursuit of Happiness" of all men, women and children.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Rep. Christine Johnson, open Lesbian lawmaker, announces exodus from state

This is a sad day for Utah politics.

Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake, has announced her intentions to leave the state of Utah.  The announcement appeared in today’s Daily Herald.

“To me, Utah doesn’t feel like home,” said Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, on Thursday.

Her announcement came as a surprise to many, but Johnson, an open lesbian carrying a surrogate baby for two gay men, said the state is well-equipped to keep up the fight for gay rights.

Johnson took heat from many in the gay community at the beginning of the legislative session for a deal she hammered out with Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, to have both sides put discrimination-related bills away for a year to see how an anti-discrimination ordinance works in Salt Lake City.

Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune of her disenchantment with the Utah Legislature:

"For the past four years, I have stood with my colleagues each morning of the session, placed my hand over my heart and pledged ‘liberty and justice for all,’ " she said in a statement, "and yet repeatedly witnessed blatant disregard of those so in need of equal protections in the name of ‘family values.’ "

This is the 2nd resignation in 3 months from a Utah politician representing the LGBT community.  Former Utah Senator Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake District 2, Utah’s first openly gay senator, announced his resignation from politics on December 9, 2009.

Rep. Johnson honored Utah’s LGBT veterans at this press conference a few months ago where she announced a resolution on repealing the  “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for LGBT citizens who wish to join the military.

The Hill, the LGBT community, and all citizens in Utah will miss Rep. Johnson’s fortitude, bravery, compassion and voice.

Read posts on Utah Legislature Watch involving Rep. Johnson here.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Let the Games Begin!

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Today’s opening of the Utah Legislature will bring  a variety of  issues in the spotlight, among them being:

The Budget- addressing the “shortfall” and how/if to use the “rainy day” fund and other measures to generate revenue –  and within the budget debate are the hot topics of public and higher education, state retirement system, transportation and taxes on food, as well as the overall raising of taxes issue.

Ethics Reform – including a controversial citizen’s initiative and a package of proposed ethics bills by legislators, inlcuding establishing an independent commission to hear complaints from citizens and putting limits on campaign contributions.

Fair Housing and Employment practice for gays and lesbians – a bill proposed that will afford the GLBT population protection from discrimination in employment and housing

Health Care Reform – an overhaul of Utah’s health care system through a package of bills that intend to divert the current sick care system to a more preventative health care system.

Sex Education – measures to determine how much information students should have access to when it comes to using contraception

Be sure to connect to the Utah Legislature’s website which has a multitude of resources including bill tracking, archived videos of the various sessions and a children’s page.  See also Utah Legislature Watch’s post on resources and the various news feeds along the sidebars of our site.

And awaayy we go!

The Buttars Saga: How Utah Looks to the Rest of the Nation

First he bumbled.  Then he was ousted from two legisltative committees.  Then he refused to apologize.

More than 15,000 e-mails were sent to Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups (R) demanding that he condemn Buttars’s remarks. Waddoups said he kicked Buttars off the Senate Judiciary Committee primarily as a way to draw attention away from him. Buttars said he would not issue an apology.

(Washington post "Around the Nation")

Senator Chris Buttars continues to embarass and make a mockery of Utah nationwide with his words and actions.

Utah lawmaker’s gay comments cost him chairmanship

Buttars:  "I Don’t Have Anything to Apologize For."(Salt Lake Tribune)

Buttars Loses Chairmanship Over Remarks (Deseret News)
Utah Legislator Ousted from Panel for Remarks (Washington Post)

Google News Results

And now there is a rally planned in West Jordan on Saturday, February 28th at 1:00p.m. (place tbd) to rally against Buttars’ recent statements.

Buttars and his supporters are crying "free speech".  Opponents are demanding responsibility, fairness, and ethical behavior of legislators, including responsible free speech in the public’s eye.  Buttars is not providing a model of responsible leadership.  Indeed, he is painting a rather foolish picture of Utah to the rest of the Nation.

(Cross posted from Utah Legislature Watch)

Bumbling Buttars

Utah Senator Chris Buttars continues to blunder.  On the heels of the defeat of the Common Ground Initiative bills, which would have afforded benefits to domestic partners, Buttars, in an interview with documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan, openly made the statement that the gay rights movement is “probably the greatest threat to America.”  Quoted in the media:

Sen. Chris Buttars believes gays and lesbians are "the greatest threat to America going down," comparing members of the LGBT community to radical Muslims.

"I believe they will destroy the foundation of the American society," the West Jordan Republican said in a recent interview with documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan. "In my mind, it’s the beginning of the end. … Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide."

It’s all over the news media and blogosphere such as:

Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

One Utah

On Top Magazine

True Logic

Agree to Disagree

This is not the first time Buttars has bumbled. The NAACP called for Buttars’ resignation last year for comments he made about a controversial bill. "This baby is black, I’ll tell you," he said. "This is a dark and ugly thing."

Salt Lake Tribune:

Gay-rights activist Jacob Whipple, founder of the All For One Initiative, called for Buttars’ resignation from the Senate, urging supporters of the LGBT community to e-mail Buttars and Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.

"He basically labeled my community as virtually the devil incarnate," Whipple said. "I don’t think that he represents Utah any more. … Saying something so hurtful has no place on the Hill."

(Cross-posted from Utah Legislature Watch)

“Sacred Ground” Initiative Event Organizers holds free event to the public-to those they approve

Eric Ethington wrote an account of his experience on his blog about the Sutherland Institutes’s "free" event to the public to kick-off its copy cat project (to the Common Ground Initiative) "The Sacred Ground Initiative" on Thursday night. 

The event was advertised as "This free and open to the public" according to a Sutherland Institute press release and post on its website , but it really wasn’t.  the organizers were selective in who they let in, despite advance registrations by attendees.  Here is an excerpt from Eric’s blog:


….the “gays” were the first ones to arrive at Thanksgiving Point, standing in line in the cold waiting to get in. Once the doors opened, we were shepherded into a long thin tent leading up to the main doors, inside of which was a table to sign in, and about 8 security guards. It was a notable difference from Equality Utah’s “Common Ground Initiative” kickoff event, which was an open-to-the-public, media and all-welcome event. To actually get in, you had to have previously registered with the Sutherland Institute, including providing your home address and email, although they didn’t tell you until afterwards that you were signing up to receive regular mail from them.

Deciding that opposite opinions were not welcome, the Sutherland Institute sent out an email to many of the prominent gay activist leaders in the community (Jacob Whipple and Michael Mueller) in the hours prior to the event letting them know they and their groups were no longer welcome to attend. This went so far as the young man who checked me in apologized for the extra security, saying, “there are supposed to be a lot of bad people trying to get in tonight, so we’re being very careful.” To enforce this decree, they pulled the list of attending people from Facebook, and listed them as banned from the event. Many people, not aware of this change, were actually forcibly removed from the event. Rebecca Huggins, a local single mom who registered well in advance, attempted to sign in with the registration people. Watching closely, she saw them scan down to her name, note a check mark next to it, then was asked to speak to the security guard. “He said I needed to leave immediately,” Rebecca said, “then he grabbed me by the elbow and attempted to escort me out.” Rebecca, who was there not to protest, but to listen and see what the Sutherland Institute had to say, was shocked and in tears after her ill-treatment.

Eric goes on in further detail to describe the event.  Much focus was placed on "America" and "God’s Law".  Paul Mero, of the Sutherland Institute, even makes a comment to Eric’s post.  Read it all here.  My comment was this:

I think Dominique is spot on.  This whole event and its organization (raving about "God’s law") sounds and looks like this is the Christain version of the Taliban, to wit:

“We do not make laws, we merely distort and twist God’s laws,” so we must do all we can to correct that.

These people do not want civil law, they want "God’s Law". (likened to  the  "Sharia").

Also, Mero is incorrect in the principles regarding the founding of this country.  The preamble to the constitution states that

"we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator "(not "God" as Mero alludes – to an atheist, this might mean their parents) "with certain unalienable rights". 

Finally, what about the LDS article #11 in the articles of faith regarding the right of pursuing their worship the way they want (religious freedom) and  also acknowledges the right of others to pursue their own religious freedom? 

I too respect the rights of EVERYONE to believe in what they want – and WITHOUT persecution.  This whole event and the driving forces behind it smack of hypocrisy to the max.


Posted by permission from Eric Etherton

In what seems to be an endless line of embarrassments for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is now coming to light that several prominent Mormon figures were actually reimbursed for their efforts and participation on the Yes On 8 campaign.

Below is a list of several of them, brought to my attention by my good friend Reed Cowen (many thanks to him for this). The full list can be seen at http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1302592&session=2007&view=expenditures and I highly recommend that everyone views the list to see who they recognize.

Lawrence Research (Gary Lawrence, Mormon pollster and Meridian contributor): $528,877.35

Eagle Foundation (a Mormon PAC set up by Bart Marcois and David Parker): $135,912.76

Glen Greener (former Salt Lake City Police Commissioner, Meridian contributor, and now a GOP operative and sometime Cali property developer): $50,236.42

Sonja Brown (Protectmarriage.com communications director): $41,844.00

Zion Multimedia Corp.: $2,000.00

Rob Wirthlin: $768.18

So what does this all mean for the LDS church? Well it’s still unclear, and the list of those who were reimbursed may be getting longer as more is unearthed. But until then, you can count on more and more outcries against this “loving and tolerant” religion.

Source: cal-access.sos.ca.gov

Common Ground Initiative’s Nemesis: The Sacred Ground Initiative

(Cross posted from Utah Legislature Watch)

This legislative session, there is a series of 5 bills, as has been written about on this blog, called “Common Ground Initiative”, which advocate for the provisions of Expanding Health Care, Fair Housing & Employment, Wrongful Deaths, The Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act and Clarifying Amendment 3 (repealing the portion of Amendment 3 which states “no other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as marriage or be given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect – would not change Utah’s definition of marriage).  Equality Utah is the organizing group behind this initiative.

Michael Mueller of Utahns for Marriage Equality :

There is phone banking, citizen lobbyist activities, and many other crucial activities they need are help with – now and throughout the year. As I have mentioned before, even though our group’s goal is full marriage equality for all Utahns, there is a long history in this country of marriages that are neither real marriages nor are they equal. In this case, these basic LGBT rights must be obtained whether or not marriage equality is obtained.

To counter-act the Common Ground Initiative, the Eagle Forum and the Sutherland Instituteare launching their very own copy cat initiative, the Sacred Ground Initiative. In a press release issued by these groups it was stated:

Following an unsuccessful campaign to dismantle traditional marriage in California, gay rights advocates are now turning their focus to Utah. Known for strong family values, Utahns are now being exposed to deceptive marketing campaigns based on a non-threatening appeal to “common ground.”

On Thursday, February 5th, these groups will present their Sacred Ground Initiative at an event titled “Stand Up To Protect Marriage” at Thanksgiving Point, State of the Union II: The Challenge to Family and Freedom.  This free and open to the public  event will be held at the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  Speakers will include Paul T. Mero,  LaVar Christensen, primary author of Utah’s Constitutional Amendment in support of traditional marriage, and Lauralyn B. Swim, Sutherland benefactor and former member of the Young Women General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Sutherland continues to defend the sacred ground of traditional marriage, and family as the fundamental unit of society,” said Institute President, Paul T. Mero.  ”This session will talk directly to Utahns about how the gay marriage controversy has come to our state and what responsible citizens can do to stand up for and be advocates to protect marriage and optimal family structures.”

Anyone can attend this event by obtaining seat reservations.  It has been advertised that participants must rsvp online, call (801) 355-1272, e-mail si@sutherlandinstitute.org, or visit www.sutherlandinstitute.org to reserve seats for the event.  I’m not sure what information they will take from you but I’m guessing they will be screening interested parties.

I am urging everyone who can to pursue attending this event.  Additionally, there will be a Protest and Infiltration of Sacred Ground Initiative Launch, the details which can be found here.

Utah’s Radical Cheerleaders – Video at Equality Rally

I am a member of Pom Poms Not Bomb Bombs which participated in the Equality Rally on Saturday.

Below is a video that Lionel Trepanier took and edited into a really nice piece.

Equality Rally – End of March