UT Senate Pres Threatens LGBT Community

UT Senate President Michael Waddoups

SLC – With the controversial “compromise” between the pro-human rights legislators and the extremist right-wing hanging in the balance, a closed-door meeting between leading Republican Senators ended with a slap in the face to Utah’s LGBT community.

Last week, Representative Christine Johnson and Senator Stephenson announced a joint bill saying that no pro or anti gay legislation would be run this year by either side, and a committee would be assigned to study the necessity of anti-discrimination laws over the coming year. Call it an olive branch to Utah’s ultra-conservative lawmakers, a way for them to finally recognize the suffering of their constituents while still saving face by claiming that they were unaware of the problems in Utah before the committee delivered their report.

But now, Republicans have denied even that. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Senate President Michael Waddoups announced that they would hold up their end of no anti gay legislation this session, but that he saw no need for a committee to look into anything this upcoming year. On top of that, he threatened the gay community against speaking up, saying any “offensive activities” would push the Republicans into drafting legislation against the LGBT community.

Um… excuse me?? The queer community in Utah is one of the most oppressed in the country, being one of the few states that does not even afford housing or workplace protections to its’ citizens. There’s barely a handful of supportive legislators on Capital Hill supporting their basic rights and he wants the gay community to shut up and fall in line? Their strategy is clear, Republicans are in essence buying themselves a free-pass for the year from the constant barrage of negative press for their dark-age views, while giving nothing in return.

Now, the LGBT community of Utah is rising and coming together again. Enough. We have had it with our state constantly spitting on us, of teaching our children that they have no human worth just because they’re born differently. We are thrown from our parents’ homes, shunned from our churches and communities, fired from our jobs, evicted from our homes, denied every possible right to our partners and now are told our suffering isn’t even worth taking a deeper look at.

Enough. We’re sick of being the whipping-boy for those law makers who care nothing that thousands of their constituents are being persecuted. Sit Down, Shut Up and Fall In Line? Never.


21 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Martha Amundsen on February 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Amen Eric!


  2. Posted by Dominique on February 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I knew the proposed detente was a lie.
    I knew we’d get screwed over in the end.

    Nice that our “gay leaders” can see that empty promises are … well … EMPTY!


    • Posted by Sam on February 7, 2010 at 11:04 am

      Nothing like throwing the “gay leaders: under the bus Dominique!! Do the “Empty promises” even matter? – You’ve been in UT how long? – Is this any different? – The Repub/Mormons on the hill can do anything they want – wouldnt you take any possibility at No Anti-LGBT legislation if you could?? – They want to take away the non-discrimination ordinance and stop us from doing that elsewhere.
      – What are our options?????? – (really)


      • Posted by Erin on February 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

        In answer to your question… The Repub/Mormons on the hill can do anything they want – wouldn’t you take any possibility at No Anti-LGBT legislation if you could??


        Here let me say it again…

        F YOU, and NO!

        Not you personally, but the repub/mormons on the hill. Personally, I don’t think its better to sit down and shut up and do a study. There are countless studies available throughout the world on the negative effects of discrimination against GLBT. Our representatives threw the whole GLBT community under the bus. I don’t condone anti gay legislation, however, I do believe you need to let the process work. Sometimes a step back only builds momentum to catapult you into several steps forward. To be quite is not even a step back, its stagnenticity.

  3. Posted by Sheri Lawson on February 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

    All I can say, once again, is I am so happy I don’t live in Utah anymore I left the state when I was 18 and never looked back. It’s bad enough living in CA right now with the right wing agenda in full swing. But I think that must be magnified exponentially in UT. I apologize to the GLBT community for the part my family has played in your suffering.

    Sheri Lawson


  4. Posted by Otis on February 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Very well said. I hate to admit that I am just not very active in politics bit this just boils my blood. I am just so tired of hearing republican bullshit. Yes, gays are people too. Yes, evolution did happen. And YES! There is such thing as gravity.


  5. Posted by Gail Turpin on February 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I am glad some of you are choosing to stand up for what is right. I am confused by some in the LGBT community who seem to be supporting the moratorium when commenting on one post, and then not supporting it when commenting on another post. But this has become a somewhat muddled issue, and I think many are confused and uncertain about how to react.

    Although I have stated my support in the past several days for both Christine Johnson and EU, I find it extremely difficult to share their hope. I have heard nothing but demeaning and threatening comments from the other side of this issue. How do you have hope when they so clearly feel contempt and disgust for the activists of the community? Turning the other cheek does not make it go away.

    However, I have no clue what to do at this point. I am now dealing with my very “out” there activist behavior and it’s effects on the Mormon side of my family. Although one member wants to meet with me and discuss the issues from both our perspectives-a healthy idea from a person I love very much.

    I am not asking for sympathy so please don’t feel the need to offer it. I know many of you have dealt with this dynamic for years, so no pity-party needed!

    I simply feel a bit deflated today. But there is one thing I am sure of. My respect and love for those of you who have shared my “coming out” over the past year.


  6. Well they can try to take their power back by holding the threat of anti-gay laws over our head, but last time I checked. Free speech is allowed, even to us.


    • Posted by CJ on February 6, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      You can and should use your free speech. Not everyone in the community has that freedom. I think maybe he has some funny ideas about how gay people behave.


  7. Posted by Joni Weiss on February 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I so agree with you Gail. I am confused as well. I still think the best we can do is what you are doing and that is to be out in support and to be open about talking with people even when it may be very difficult.

    One part of me want to see a major mobilization of the lgbtqa community in larger and even more public ways than we ever have before. How about a sit-in in the capitol rotunda? How many of us would be willing to go to jail? I think I am just about there.

    Another part of me is thinking we need to expand our grass roots organizing. We need to find ways to get into the hearts and souls of the people who are complacent and the people who (for whatever reason) keep voting for these dangerous and out of control people. I think Waddoups and Butters and those like them are Asses in Wolves clothing.

    And now I am thinking an ethics investigation might just do the trick.

    We need to do something. Sitting back and falling in line ain’t gonna happen. It’s time to go rogue and vrial people.


  8. Posted by Charles Frost on February 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    “Trust only MOVEMENT. Life happens at the level of EVENTS, not of words. Trust movement.”~~Alfred Adler

    Trust and Trustworthiness need to be earned, they are not foolishly granted just because some fools tell you there will be a year of peace, a ridiculous and unnecessary study, a COMPROMISE?! All because it is an election year and LGBT legislators are tired, Equality Utah has nothing new to send up its teetering flagpole, and Moderate Republicans want no backlash coming their or the LDS churches way? Bullshit! Enough! The time has past, the patience spent, the evidence presented and it’s ugly and overwhelmingly damaging. It is time to now realize the Utah State Legislature is what it is, myopic, out-of-touch, prejudiced, biased, power-mongering bullies. It is time to ORGANIZE like never before, and take our message to the nation, the world, and those allies who can help us win the fair and attainable equal rights we have been denied. Drawing down now only shows we believe we should be driven & threatened by the FEAR that Waddoups and his ilk threaten us with. Let’s MOVE shall we, and let’s MOVE hard, with action, and without Fear, Shame, Guilt, or acceptance of the Judgment so many wish us to bend to.


  9. Posted by Gail Turpin on February 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    So glad to hear from you, Charles! You lift my spirits on a very difficult day for me on several levels. I feel sick to my stomach over what is happening, and the people who are willing to put up with this.


    • Posted by Charles Frost on February 7, 2010 at 9:51 am

      Gail…you, and women just like you are THE huge factor in the final battle and overall victory. It will come from the WOMEN, the parents, friends, neighbors that have had enough of the bullying, threatening, and hostile comments from the Republican legislature. However, WE the LGBT people must rally them, make them aware, get them to realize the inequities we endure daily. We will survive, we always have, we will again. We may have to lose some victories to gain the national and world media attention that will give us the SPOTLIGHT we so badly need to take this to further victories. We cannot blink now, the LDS church knows they will end up with the black eyes over all this, and they will eventually corral those hooligans at the state capital and get them to fall in line. Besides the voters (the people of Utah) are on our side by a majority at this very moment. Arrogance, power-mongering, and yes I’ll say it again bullying is at the center of this dilemma. Cowering and being afraid if not the solution. We all just need to think, gather, talk, and for God’s sake UNITE AND ORGANIZE.


      • Posted by Reb Huggins on February 7, 2010 at 11:50 am

        Charles, I’m an LGBT ally, and ready to fight. I am on the internet daily, looking for opportunities to get involved with the FIGHT. I am sorry, but I am taking my Common Ground yard sign down. The LDS Church lied last year about it, and they’ll lie again. It’s time for a new course. There are two types of people you want involved in your political efforts: the idea makers, and the idea executors. I am one of the latter…someone give me a good idea, and I will run hard with it! Enough F.U.D. (Fear, uncertainty, doubt) already…we need action.
        I have tons of friends, students, classmates, etc., who are straight allies, just teetering on the fence of getting involved. Many had no idea of the prejudices which are expected to be tolerated by the LGBT community. And they are incensed at what is happening to their neighbors. It is time.

  10. Posted by Sheri Lawson on February 7, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Yesterday two Mormon missionaries came to my home here in Laguna Beach. When I opened the door they began their sch peal and I just smiled. I stopped them and said, no need to explain who you are, I used to be Mormon. I invited them in, they sat, I gave them a drink of water and with love, compassion and respect I told them what I thought about the Mormon church’s stance on gay marriage, and how hurtful and wrong it is to persecute the GLBT community who are only looking for equality and acceptance in a world where some would rather they not exist. I explained that contrary to popular belief among many Mormons, sex does not define a homosexual any more than it defines any of us. Their same-sex attraction is a minuscule part of who they are, and yet they are treated as if being homosexual automatically makes them sexual deviants. It’s just NOT true!

    I went on to explain I was married in the temple for 24 years and served in every capacity a women could serve. But…I said, in 2000 when the church became involved in the politics of gay marriage, with Prop 22, I began to question the teachings of the church because I figured if they could be so wrong on this issue, what other issues have we been led astray on? I told them that after Prop 8 passed, mostly because of the efforts of the Mormon church, I asked to have my name removed from their records. Then I went on to bear my testimony to them of the untruthfulness of anti-gay legislation and the falsehood of the “Protect Marriage” agenda. I planted a seed, I hope it will grow.


    • Posted by Reb Huggins on February 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Sheri, bless you for sharing with these young men. Hopefully, they listened with open hearts and open minds, and will go home and deeply process what you taught them. We need thousands of instances like this.


  11. Posted by Sam on February 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Just like the Mormon Church and the Legislature, Gay leaders have to play politics while the community can do as it pleases. If you want to do a “die-in” in the Rotunda – Great! – get 300+ people and lets do it. I get that we need community action, but we also have to allow and respect our “gay leaders” to do their job. If they act radical, we get nowhere. If we act radical – we can send messages and create nightmares. Utah is the most unhealthy place to live as a gay person that MUST change!! – Let politicians take their angle and the people take theirs.


  12. Posted by Justan Peterson on February 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I’m with Joni. I knew this whole ‘truce’ was ridiculous, and Eric, thank you for again keeping us informed. I’m for sit-ins. I will be there. If I lose my job over the publicity, so be it. If I get jailed, so be it. I’m finished with this bulls**t, and I’m tired of being stepped on and pushed aside in this state.
    I have tirelessly conversed with LDS people in Utah County, building support, and there is much that has been gained from these efforts….however, the Senate and the Church leaders no longer have my support in the least, and I’m ready to put up a fight.


  13. Posted by ethingtoneric on February 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Just as a heads up for everyone on this.. Things are happening! Watch your different feeds this week for updates but there are several events coming quickly to fight back!
    Love to you all!


  14. Posted by Dominique on February 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Another thing I find interesting is the reticence of our leaders to continue pushing now that we have them on their heels.

    I have been asked by many how 8: The Mormon Proposition will affect the progress by the Super 5… (i can’t remember what they were called). I was also asked if I thought Lance went too far with his speech at the Capitol Rotunda.

    My answer is this: The Mormons wouldn’t even be talking to us if it weren’t for the pressure brought on by Reed, Bruce, and countless queer folks and straight allies who are sick of lies by Mormon leaders. The negative impact from the press on Proposition 8 from around the world has brought intense pressure upon LD$, Inc.

    They are reaching out because “revelation” on major issues like polygamy, blacks allowed “full faith and fellowship”, and now gay rights has always come as a result of political pressure. The pressure is strong; they’ve made their bed; and now they must be forced to lie in it.

    I honour the progress made by the Fab Five and Mormon insiders. I reject the backhanded support of Salt Lake City’s civil rights laws. LD$, Inc. supports a law protecting housing and employment rights as long as it doesn’t do violence to traditional marriage???


    They’re the ones backpeddling as a result of being caught in their deception. Why are we allowing them time to recover?


  15. […] Senate President Michael Waddoups has come under heavy fire over the last week since he released a statement with a thinly-veiled threat telling the LGBT UT Senate President Michael […]


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