Thursday, November 19, 2009

Party Lines - Will SLC’s policy on discrimination influence the Legislature? By Rob Miller, Davis County Democrat

On Nov. 10, 2009, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declared its support for nondiscrimination ordinances that will extend protection in matters of housing and employment in Salt Lake City to those with same-sex attraction. Moments later the Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved the measures.

Like the Church, I agree and embrace Salt Lake City’s new nondiscrimination ordinances. I also believe that Church spokesperson and managing director of Church Public Affairs, Michael Otterson, hit the nail on the head when he said, “I represent a church that believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even when we disagree — in fact, especially when we disagree.”

Can you imagine how much more we could accomplish in government and politics if all citizens of the United States would embrace human dignity, in treating each other with respect, especially when we disagree?

When the Clipper gave us this topic not only did they ask if we agreed with the enactment of this new policy, they also asked, “Does it go far enough and what chance do you give it to pass in the Legislature?

Although I believe that the Salt Lake County Council has taken a giant step against discrimination for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender) residents in Salt Lake City, the passing of these ordinances is not enough. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Anything good is sharable”, and it is my hope that our state will take Salt Lake City’s example and make that example the model for statewide legislation. It is also my hope that our state will strengthen “hate crimes” legislation for its LGBT residents.

Unfortunately, a political insider’s poll conducted by Utah that asked the question, “Given the LDS Church’s support of the Salt Lake City ordinance, will one or more of the Common Ground initiatives backed by Equality Utah, which advocate basic legal protections for gays and lesbians, pass the Utah Legislature in 2010?” shows that 58.8 percent of GOP insiders and 68 percent of Democratic Party insiders believe that these initiatives that were supported by then governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr. will not pass.

Of course things can change, and it is my hope that they will, but even with LDS Church support there are conservative groups like the Sutherland Institute, Standard of Liberty and the notorious America Forever who are attempting to confuse the issue by stating that the Church was being less than honest with its support by asserting that the Church’s statement was just an “Entity” trying to protect itself. I disagree with that accusation and I cannot understand how these “Entities” can look themselves in the mirror since I have never known Church officials to speak and not mean exactly what they have said.

By the way, this column is dedicated to my adopted aunt, Teresa Trujillo, the late Kirby Hook, and Bryan Horn, three people who have shown me great love, friendship and understanding throughout my life.

In my heart they are members of my family, and they just happen to also be members of the LGBT community.


Anonymous said...

It is with great joy I find my brother's memory lives on in others as well as myself. Brooks Hook - Marion Tx.

Rob said...

Brooks, your brother was a great friend. He was a great racquetball partner and an even better human being. I miss him so much. Thanks for commenting.

Rob said...

And, if you would, please send me a photo of Kirby. It would be cherished.