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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Elementary, my dear Watson." Sherlock Holmes

Certain things seem elementary to me...things like basic human rights and kindness.  I also thought that separation of church and state was pretty basic and not too difficult to understand.  Here in Utah, that basic concept does not exist.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a say in everything.  I don't just mean everything about the church or its followers, I mean everything that happens in this state.  The Utah state legislature is over 90% LDS and it seems their members rarely think for themselves. The Mormon church weighs in on all issues and if they don't give their approval it simply will not happen.  I want to scream and pull my hair out after I read articles stating how the Church either approved or disappoved of an issue and that influenced the outcome of the vote in the legislature.  The blatant disregard of law by this body is repugnant.
I was, however, impressed to read an Op Ed last week by Republican and Mormon senator Stephen Urquhart.  He sponsored a non-discrimination bill that would outlaw housing and employment discrimination based on sexual identity and orientation.  Yes,  that is still very legal in Utah.  Of course it is, as you all know the church's stance on homosexuality.  This church has gone to great lengths and spent big dollars to withhold rights from the gay community in Utah and other states, most notably California.  I applaud Mr. Urquhart's bravery and wish there were others who would stand up for what is clearly elementary!  No one should be discriminated against!

Sadly, today's paper had an article, "Anti-discrimination bill for gays appears dead for 2013 session". Apparently, there are just not enough votes to get it passed.  Here is a direct quote from the article, "Advocates from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had negotiated for more than a year with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to try to win support for the legislation."  You see,  this unlawful influence is not even a secret.   This is just sad and pathetic.  It displays bigotry and I cannot believe that we Utahns accept it.

So another year goes by and discrimination against a group of Utahns is still legal.  For now, the only elementary thing is that we have to pander to a Church that thinks not all people have the same rights.        It is time for everyone, LDS or not, to stand up for others.  The LDS church will not get the respect of the nation or the world until it is able to put aside bigotry and judgement.  The Church was 14 years behind in granting rights to their black members, I hope they will not lag that far behind on this equality issue.