This week I want to address gay rights…again. Perhaps you are aware that a Utah organization, Equality Utah, is pushing a package of six policy ideas at the State Legislature. These six policies, as they say, would give homosexuals benefits that other Utahns receive just as a matter of being Utahns.
For instance, they want the right to not be fired from a job just because they’re gay. And they want the right to rent someone’s home without being discriminated against just because their gay. They also want the right to adopt kids, overturn part of Utah’s constitutional amendment, and sort of weird things about standing in court when your partner gets hit by a bus.
Now we can argue about each one of these things – and will up at the legislature – but there are some basic ideas in play that we can argue about right here.
First of all, when we talk about the “gay,” it’s important to remember that we’re talking about people who are choosing to define their public lives by their private sex lives. It’s no secret that homosexuals have non-sexual private lives like all of us do. They have moms and dads, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends, co-workers, and they do regular stuff everyday like everyone else.
But when it comes to public policy, what they’re really doing is making their private sex lives a matter of public discussion. When they say, for instance, that they want a law that would prohibit an employer from firing them because they are gay, all they’re really saying to the legislature is, if it’s a guy talking, “look, I have sex with other guys and I don’t want to be fired from my job because that grosses you out, Mr. Employer.”
Now, Mr. Employer is wondering what about any part of that guy’s sex life has anything to do with work – unless, of course, that guy works in the sex trade. But assuming he works at COSTCO, the employer is thinking “why is that any business of mine?” He’s also thinking why would a bunch of people go to the State Legislature and lobby elected officials to make their sex lives a matter of public discussion?
Here’s another thought. Equality Utah wants to put the words “sexual orientation” in Utah law. Now I know what Sutherland will argue against doing that at the legislature, but I will leave it to you good people to try to figure out the definition of the words “sexual orientation” – because if you can’t define it, the law is going to be pretty troublesome and a lawyer’s dream.
One last thing I want to talk about in regard to this current push by Equality Utah. They have been fixated on what they see as support for their causes from the LDS Church. Right now they are spending tens of thousands of dollars on newspaper ads and billboards around Salt Lake basically calling out the LDSChurch for some comments the Church made in the heat of Proposition 8 in California.
The Church’s statements go something like this – we’re not against giving rights to gays; we’re only against laws that would threaten the family and religious freedom.
Now, and you can see this coming a mile away, because Equality Utah can’t even fathom how their causes will impact family law or religious freedom – at least in bad ways – all they have focused on are the parts of two Church statements that have to do with supporting their causes, as they see it.
Clearly, neither I nor the Sutherland Institute speak for the Church, and so I’m reading those Church statements just like everyone else has. But it looks to me that Equality Utah is being very disingenuous about their claims.
Of course, the Church isn’t against rights for anyone – except those rights that infringe on other rights! Equality Utah, in their crazed zeal, can’t see that what happened in California stays in California – that seems to be the proper context for reading into any Church statement about gay rights these days. It’s pretty telling that the Church has not said anything about these laws here in Utah – except that they publicly endorsed Utah’s constitutional amendment on marriage and not extending marriage-like benefits to unmarried couples.
For the Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero.