Archive for January, 2009

The New “SarahPAC”

Stolen directly from Curtis Haring’s blog, this is the a copy of the text from the homepage of the new formed SarahPAC, with Haring’s own comments added.

———————————————————————————————–

So here is, word for word,what the website states – with my own commentary thrown in:

SarahPAC believes America’s best days are ahead (because the last eight were terrible). Our country, founded on conservative principles (such as radically overthrowing the reigning government and creating a liberal democracy) and the fight for freedom, must confront the challenges of the 21st century with integrity (insert any Bush Administration scandal), innovation (CLEAN COAL!), and determination(Palin for President in 2010!).

SarahPAC believes energy independence (Drill, baby, drill!) is a cornerstone of the economic security (especially for Alaska and Texas) and progress that every American family wants and deserves (now that liberals have pointed out that energy efficiency is a good thing).

SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance (the Bull Moose Party thought the same thing) that will build a better future for all(rich, white, men *cough, cough*). Health care (lobby), education (vouchers *cough, cough*), and reform of government (but only after Nancy Peloci took over) are among our key goals. Join us today!

Advertisements

Despite Today, Pro-Gays Are Optimistic

Today the Utah Senate Judiciary Interim Committee denied the first of the Common Ground Initiative bills, proposing wrongful death benefits for same-sex couples 4 to 2.

The committee, led by such high-public names like Michael Waddoups and Chris Buttars heard extensive argument about the (very familiar) slippery slope that these rights may land the legislature on. Testimony after testimony focused soley on gay marriage, with a new push highlighting California, and showing what this “would” lead to. And despite excellent rebuttals by citizens like Linda Barney and Jeff Key, as well as Senators Scott McCoy and Ross Romero (the only YES’s on the committee), the measure went down.

And yet, despite the filled-to-capacity room of supporters who left with a feeling of gloom, Equality Utah and other local gay-rights groups say they are very optimistic.

“This is only the beginning..” said Lauren Littlefield, field coordinator for Equality Utah, “we have a lot of bills coming up, and we are truly fighting the good fight.” She also added, “we have a lot of work to do in these coming weeks, and I’m thrilled to see where this is heading.”

Many groups have events planned over the next few weeks that people can get involved in to show their support. Equality Utah’s next phone-banking session is this Thursday night (the 29th) at 5:30pm at their offices. PRIDE In Your Community is also hosting a Valentine’s Day event where members will carpool to rural Utah to talk with neighborhoods and legislators.

All in all, what is the day’s message? Hope. There is always going to be opposition, and we will never have everyone on our side. But let us not so soon forget that resounding call that moved so many of us, let us remember that when someone tells you that we cannot accomplish our dreams, YES WE CAN.

For more information on Equality Utah, visit http://www.equalityutah.org
For more information on PRIDE In Your Community, send an email to prideinyourcommunity@live.com

Gay Rally Seeking Common Ground

cgi-rallyToday, hundreds of Utahns marched from Washington Square in SLC up State St to the Capitol Building in support of the “Common Ground Initiative.” The weather? Not the most pleasant, freezing rain coming down the whole time, but it failed to stop the enthusiasm as marchers chanted the full 7 block march.

Jacob Whipple, who also organized the Temple Square rally in November said he wanted this rally to coincide with both President Obama’s inauguration and the beginning of Utah’s 2009 legislative session. “They [the legislature] need to remember, and be reminded that this session is one of the most important in Utah’s history,” remarked Whipple a few days prior to the event.

Utah, known nationwide for it’s “quirky” conservatism has an enormous majority standing against rights like same-sex marriage. But in this session, marriage is not an issue, rather more commonplace civil rights like housing and workplace protection, death benefits, and expanded health care for partners. 3 statewide polls have been released in the past week, including one by the SL Tribune, and another by Equality Utah showing that a majority of Utahns are in favor of these basic civil rights.

 

 

photo courtesy of KSL.com

Talking to Senator Buttars

Senator Chris Buttars
Senator Chris Buttars
Eric Ethington and Elaine Ball
Eric Ethington and Elaine Ball

Some of you may know that I am the founder of the group PRIDE In Your Community, a LGBTQ and ally group that performs community service projects in an attempt to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ community and the rest of Utah. This past Saturday, Jan 17th, we held our most recent service event, delivering home-made pumpkin bread to legislators and their neighbors while promoting Equality Utah’s Common Ground Initiative.

Erring perhaps on the side of gusto, we decided to start with the neighborhood of none other than Senator Chris Buttars. We arrived at about 11am, and wanting to visit the Senator first, knocked on his door immediately. Imagine our disappointment, when no one answered the door! But soon after, while we were preparing to start knocking on doors, the Senator pulled up with his groceries in the trunk. We approached him on his driveway as he was unloading, and asked if we could speak to him about the local gay issues.
Mr. Buttars invited us into his study, and there gave us about an hour o uninterrupted time with him. Elaine and I had discussed this previously, and had decided that the best approach would be to take a humanistic approach, rather than legal or emotional. We shared with him the importance of these issues to us. For me in particular, I tend to focus the most heavily on the workplace and housing protections. Not enough people are aware that in Utah it is completely legal to fire someone, or evict them from their homes for no other reason than their sexual orientation. And as someone who has been both fired and evicted for that reason (as well as I work in Provo currently) they’re issues I am constantly worried about.
Senator Buttars was actually very receptive to the message, and expressed a great deal of empathy for those issues, claiming to frown on that type of discrimination.
One thing that enormously struck me during our conversation however, was how closely even those bills are linked in perhaps many legislator’s minds with same-sex marriage. I think this is a major road-block that needs to be taken care of in Utah in order to get any of these bills passed. Everyone needs to understand exactly what these bills are, and what they are not!
After speaking with Senator Buttars, we delivered our pumpkin bread and message to about 40 of his closest neighbors. Surprise surprise again, when 90% of them were incredibly receptive and supportive of these rights!
We were walking on air at this point, so we decided to drive down to Draper, and talk to Rep. Greg Hughes. Mr. Hughes was just as receptive as the Senator, and took many of the same stances, reaffirming to us the need for greater education and awareness in “straight” Utah.
I truly believe that these types of events will make a difference. Senator Buttars (in all likelihood) isn’t going to immediately change his stance on these civil rights issues, however if we keep going, and we talk to more and more people, the less and less people will perceive us as some evil entity, and more as human individuals.
For the article in the trib about this event, please see http://www.sltrib.com/ci_11506991

Intensive Look at the Debate Over LDS Prop 8 Involvement

I found this story today about the LDS church’s financial involvement in Prop 8, it’s extremely well done.

Maine Joins the Fight For Equality

gayJust one month after gay-rights advocates announced plans for all of New England to have Gay Marriage on the books by 2012, Maine has joined the long list of states with Same-Sex Marriage bills coming up for votes.

Senator Dennis Damon proposed the new bill, saying that after watching the results of [Maine’s] domestic registry, “it is obvious that more is needed,” adding that “it’s long overdue.” Currently, Maine is facing an enormous budget deficit, and opponents are questioning the timing, asking “why are they pushing this now?” Senator Damon’s reply has been, “Currently there is discrimination. Heterosexual couples who have decided to spend their lives together are treated differently than same-sex couples who have that same commitment to each other. I don’t see the fairness of that. I don’t see the need for that, and this bill will put an end to that.”

Opponents, of course, are lining up quickly against the new bill, spearheaded by Republican Rep. John Tardy; this despite a study by the University of Mass that estimates that over the next 3 years, about 33,000 couples will travel to Massachusetts to get married, resulting in 330 jobs and $111 million added to the state’s economy. Imagine what that would do for Maine’s spiraling economy!

Good luck Maine!

Utah Gay Rally held at Delicate Arch

Congrats to “Utahns For Marriage Equality” for their successful rally at Delicate Arch in behalf of the Common Grounds Initiative! Full story and video are at:

http://www.myfoxutah.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=8229701&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1