2013 Legislature: Testimony opposing antidiscrimination amendments (SB 262)

Testimony given by Paul Mero Thursday, March 7, before the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee regarding Employment and Housing Antidiscrimination Amendments (SB 262):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to add a voice to this hearing. In considering what I might share, I realized that this issue of nondiscrimination stopped being about policy at some point and is now simply a public relations issue. The legislative politics of nondiscrimination has more twists and turns than a daytime soap opera. But we’re policy people at Sutherland and it’s difficult for us to advise legislators on public relations.

After five or six consecutive years of hearing this bill – and every year the bill is rejected – I’m sure proponents of the bill might be a little frustrated with this process. But when you can’t win on its merits, all that’s left is an appeal to emotion. All that’s left is to ask legislators, “Pretty please? – just let it be heard, just give me a Republican sponsor, can we have a floor vote, pretty please?” Read more

3 reasons BSA shouldn’t cave in

The following post is a transcript of a weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations:

The Boy Scouts of America were scheduled this week to decide whether or not to lift its long-standing ban on accepting homosexual Scout leaders in local troops. [The decision has now been delayed.] The push to lift the ban comes from two members of its national board who both support homosexual Scout leaders but worry more about how progressive-minded corporations extort BSA over its no-gay policy. These corporations threaten to quit donating to BSA until the ban is lifted.

There are no serious political threats to BSA driving this renewed debate. Nobody beyond homosexual activists and those two BSA board members are pushing the issue. There’s no legal threat against BSA – in 2000, the United States Supreme Court settled the issue: BSA does not have to accept homosexual Scout leaders if it doesn’t want to.

There are at least three good reasons why BSA should not cave to the pressure of homosexual activists.

Read more

Spinning the news to create wedges in Mormondom?

Just a quick thought on how the pro-homosexual media spins even the clearest statements to favor its ideological … oops, I mean journalistic … opinions. The Salt Lake Tribune’s religion reporter, Peggy Fletcher Stack, relishes every opportunity to create wedges within Mormondom, point out Mormondom’s uniqueness (which she thinks is peculiar) and otherwise create policy relationships between Mormons and homosexuality where none exist.

Case in point: her recent article about the Boy Scouts of America.

In writing about the decades-old debate about allowing homosexuals to serve as Scoutmasters, she not-so-subtly slips this paragraph into the mix:

If the proposed change moves forward, however, it could bring the Scouts into alignment with the LDS Church’s policy of allowing chaste gays to serve in volunteer positions.

“Chaste gays”? Her implication is that human beings can be “born gay” and that when Mormons are “born gay” they are allowed to hold LDS Church callings as long as they don’t have homosexual sex. Read more

Activists launch their effort to overturn Utah’s marriage amendment

According to a recent news report, “gay rights” activists in Utah are filing legal briefs in the pending U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning the definition of marriage. Specifically, it is reported that these briefs are citing Utah’s marriage amendment (and a few other events) “as examples of discrimination against the LGBT community.”

In other words, Utah’s “gay rights” activists are attempting to get the U.S. Supreme Court to state that Utah’s constitutional definition of marriage is motivated by hatred and bigotry against homosexuals (i.e. discrimination … or in legal-speak, motivated by “animus”). Because if that happens, then under the precedent set by previous Supreme Court opinion[1], Utah’s constitutional marriage amendment would likely be subsequently struck down as unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution, and the courts would impose “gay marriage” on Utah by fiat.

So there it is. Utah’s homosexual activists have laid out their strategy to relentlessly label their political opponents as discriminatory bigots who are motivated by irrational hatred of homosexuals, in order to use the courts to then bring “gay marriage” to Utah, without all of the fuss and bother of going through democratic processes.

Now that all the activists’ cards are on the table, the real question is: Will Utah policymakers aid this strategy?

[1] Romer, Governor of Colorado, et al. v. Evans et al. (94-1039), 517 U.S. 620 (1996)

Homosexuality, the LDS Church, and the Supreme Court

Last week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new website targeted to people struggling with homosexuality and the relationships they have within their families and faith community. In announcing this unprecedented outreach, LDS Church Apostle Dallin H. Oaks said,

Same-gender attraction presents many issues and questions in society at large. These include what causes it, whether it is subject to change in kind or degree, and whether, or the extent of which, laws like marriage should accommodate it. Our discussion is limited to two related questions we sometimes hear in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…
We will not discuss any of the multitude of other issues and questions. There is so much we don’t understand about this subject, that we’d do well to stay close to what we know from the revealed word of God. What we do know is that the doctrine of the church, that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married, has not changed and is not changing. But what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same-gender attraction.

Indeed the nation is abuzz with another announcement regarding “gay rights” – this time from the United States Supreme Court that announced it will consider two high-profile cases, the state Prop 8 case and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Read more

A consequential time for marriage

What if the U.S. Supreme Court imposed a policy of “gay marriage” on the entire country, in spite of the fact that nearly two-thirds of states maintain a traditional definition of marriage? On the other hand, what if the court ruled that states have the constitutional right and authority to protect and maintain traditional marriage? These questions could be decided by the Supreme Court in the coming year.

A recent story in the Deseret News notes how the Supreme Court will soon be determining answers to these questions, based on lawsuits driven by “gay rights” activists. For conservatives and defenders of the institution of the family, the whole article is worth a read.

Anti-discrimination laws and marriage

Many people wonder why conservatives who speak up for traditional marriage and the natural family also often oppose fundamentally flawed laws that would add “sexual orientation” to anti-discrimination laws. If you ask some “gay rights” advocates, the answer is simple: Conservatives are motivated by bigotry and simply hate homosexuals. But for reasonable, thinking individuals who like to consider an issue before attacking and condemning those who disagree with them, there are answers. What follows is one of those answers.

First, a quick thought exercise. Imagine a world where religious individuals are attacked as “bigots” because they maintain and express sincere religious beliefs on sexual behavior and relationships. Imagine a world where their livelihoods and their worship services are publicly targeted and disrupted because they take legitimate political action grounded in their religious values. Imagine a world where justifiable social/political/policy views on issues like marriage and the family are dismissed offhand as “hateful,” with little to no thoughtful consideration.

This is a world grounded in anti-discrimination policies based on “sexual orientation.” Read more

The mistakes of ‘the gay mind’

Recently I wrote about “the secular mind” in The Salt Lake Tribune. With this blog post I write about “the gay mind.”

By way of preface, four items:

First, I want to make clear that I’m speaking generally about the thinking within homosexual culture and not the thinking of any one person struggling with or sympathetic to someone who’s struggling with homosexuality. If I write “the gay mind is delusional,” I mean that the conventional wisdom – the mind-set – within homosexual culture is delusional, not that any one person is delusional. If I mean the latter, I’ll explicitly state the latter meaning.

Second, this state is suffering a deep cultural divide between Mormon and non-Mormon – as manifest today as at any other point in Utah history, and notwithstanding the many diverse parties, none more so than the LDS Church, trying to heal these rifts. Anyone who believes otherwise hasn’t looked around, hasn’t read a Salt Lake Tribune lately and compared it with the Deseret News, hasn’t visited both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, hasn’t gone from a house party in Sugar House to a ward party in St. George, nor sat through a drum circle at Liberty Park and then a family home evening in Bluffdale. Read more

Same-sex marriage inevitable? Not so fast

At a Sutherland Institute event in April 2011, Maggie Gallagher noted that victory in a war comes when one side believes it is no longer worth fighting. Thus, one of the most important arguments made by those who want to redefine marriage is that same-sex marriage is inevitable.

Of course, like the “inevitable” triumphs of Marxism, etc., the facts sometimes get in the way and advocates will need to push things along. So, lawsuits are filed in friendly courts to get marriage redefinition mandated, or sympathetic public officials change ballot titles to make voting for husband-wife marriage seem less palatable.

Inevitability is a prediction, or perhaps a veiled threat, so it can’t be tested prospectively. We can assess the likelihood this prediction will be fulfilled, though.

How does the inevitability argument hold up based on past experience? It’s a long shot.

Read more

Who’s really driven by hatred in the ‘gay marriage’ debate?

Many on the political left dismiss people who support traditional marriage, comparing them to bigots driven by race and hate who seek to harm a hated minority.

But just this week, an organization of people who have known true discrimination (as opposed to meeting resistance while pushing a political agenda) made the comparison in the other direction. As the saying goes, “What goes around comes around.”

On Tuesday, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) launched a nationwide “Marriage Mandate” campaign, including a push for 100,000 signatories to an online pledge in support of traditional marriage, during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The CAAP organization is “a grassroots movement of African-American Christians who believe in traditional family values,” and it “is not affiliated with any political party or religious denomination.”

The Rev. William Owens, founder and president of CAAP, was quoted relative to the pushback against Chick-fil-A over comments from that restaurant chain’s founders as follows:

Some people are saying because of the position that Chick-fil-A has taken that they don’t want them in their city. It’s a disgrace. It’s the same thing that happened when I was marching for civil rights — when they didn’t want a black in their restaurant, they didn’t want us staying in their hotels. Now they’re saying, because we take a Christian position, they don’t want us in their cities.

The Rev. Owens’ comments raise an important, and oft-ignored, question: Who is really being motivated by irrational hatred in the “gay marriage” debate? Is it those who profess a belief that supporting traditional marriage is both best for society and in line with their personal religious beliefs? Or is it those who attack the people and organizations they disagree with as bigots and who then further seek, in the name of “tolerance,” to exclude the people and organizations with whom they disagree from society?