OPINION – According to an article this week in St. George News: “An anti-discrimination bill slated to safeguard housing and employment rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals was pronounced dead in the Utah Legislature Wednesday.”
In essence, they are going to shelf the issue for what could be a year or more in the interest of avoiding any negative impact on the state’s brewing battle before the 10th Circuit of Appeals.
The potentially negative impact being suggested is a possible perception of animus towards the LGBT community in Utah in light of the current battle over Amendment 3, same sex marriage.
The hard line religious right which predominantly governs this state is as insidiously bigoted and prejudiced as they look.
Given the performance of the leaders of this state, a wager on the latter would likely yield a win, but they will have you believe they are really just trying to be fair.
Not at all to demean anyone by over simplification here, but isn’t this what it boils down to?
On the one hand, a group of predominantly white Christian Republicans are standing their ground on principles they deem righteous. Not only are they tying to keep gay marriage illegal in the state but they are also going to allow landlords and business owners to discriminate against others based on sexual orientation and identity.
On the other hand, a group of multicultural, likely liberal and Democrat people are pleading with these people to abide constitutional principles and, just for kicks, see the hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy, because one can only imagine what would happen to a business or property owner in this state who openly refused to rent to or do business with a person because they were Mormon. The cries of discrimination and “hater” would be heard loud and clear.
So while this is all working itself through the courts to help Utah yet again find its way to the right side in the annals of history, perhaps we can pose a relevant question: Of all the sins rampant in the world, and of all the sins distinctly relevant to Utah, why is homosexuality the all out deal breaker?
Why is it that when it comes to the scriptures’ take on sin, Utah is only willing to let the cat partially out of the bag in this case? The state picks and chooses with some curious discernment which sins it will legislate against and which ones it will simply turn a blind eye to, doesn’t it?
Is it not curiously ironic that the Utah attorney general’s office, given its noble track record of late, is heading up all of this legal wrangling over same-sex marriage and anti-gay discrimination?
Is it not hard to see a distinction between the staunch advocacy for “family values” being decimated by homosexuality and the seeming helplessness to end the modern day slavery in the FLDS sects where polygamy is practiced?
Efforts would be better directed towards focusing on the overwhelmingly high statistics of fraud, prescription drug abuse, and teen suicide in this state. Surely focusing on those would be more beneficial to families than trying to defend an unconstitutional law.
And let’s not even get into Utah’s nationwide ranking on the use of internet pornography.
Homosexuality, like no other issue, can bring out a vehemence in Utahns and that vehemence begs the question – why?
Why is it that the malice and outright hypocrisy over the homosexual debate cannot be seen here? Why can’t it be seen when the golden rules of “do unto others” and its close cousin “live and let live” are readily given as a defense to religious freedom, business autonomy, and states’ rights?
Perhaps a solution would be for a people with an outspoken history of persecution to exercise some humility and recognize that they have, in some parts, become the persecutors.
We in Utah can shoulder each other’s burdens with compassion and understanding. This can be done by applying the principles of one’s scriptures to oneself, and leaving judgment and condemnation, if you will, to someone more justly apt to handle it.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
- Urquhart’s anti-discrimination bill tabled for another year
- Perspectives: Anti-discrimination laws, do unto others or else
- On the EDge: What is more dangerous to Utah families, polygamy or same-sex marriage?
- On the EDge: Questions remain in aftermath of polygamy ruling
- Urquhart to reintroduce LGBT antidiscrimination bill
- Dixie’s LGBT community celebrates Equality Utah with purpose
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