Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Opinions of a Utah Lesbian

With all of the hubbub in the news lately about gay marriage and how the LDS church in Utah stuck their noses a little too far into the whole mess, I was asked to add my two cents. Why me, you ask? Because I am a bonafide lesbian living in Mormon Mecca: Salt Lake City, UT.

I was born in Utah and I grew up in Utah County (commonly referred to as “Happy Valley”), in an atypical Mormon household (at least “atypical” as far as the right-wing conservative area is concerned). My immediate family is very liberal. We consider ourselves to be “socialist democrats,” and we all voted Obama. Being a member of the liberal-minded-left in Utah (never mind the gay part of it) has been an interesting adventure. I’ve gotten more then my share of nasty glares in the supermarket for wearing an Obama Mama t-shirt. I’ve had mind-numbing spats with numerous people who off-handedly remark that “Marriage is One Man, One Woman” when they see my Equality bumper stickers, and I’ve had shocked glares whenever the name George W. Bush is mentioned with anything above a hushed awe, and of course, horror and disgust when my partner and I hold hands or kiss.

Understand that I’ve always been one to speak my mind, and when the issue of Gay Marriage started to come up full force in 2003 when Massachusetts was deciding to legalize gay marriage, I got involved. I’ve been more or less a gay-rights advocate since then. I’ve written letters to the editor for my college and local newspapers and my local representatives; I’ve spoken to groups of people while on a panel discussing gay issues for both social workers and college students, and of course, I’ve attended my fair share of protests and marches.

Now, the whole 2008 issue with California’s decision to first give legal marriage rights to the gay people in their state and then systematically strip them away was angering, and it upset me mainly because of the words and tactics the “other side” used. I’ve watched some of their commercials and listened to some of their speeches, and the one issue that kept being brought up time and again is that it’s against god, or that marriage is to create families. That’s the big one in Utah: Families. The Pro-Prop 8 protestors you see around here are all holding signs with messages like ” Protect Families,” or “Families are Forever” and “Think of the Children.” My question is, what about the children of gay and lesbian families? Gay adoption is legal in California, and since gay adoption was not up for debate this last election I think this, at least to me, rings very clear. A very significant percentage of the couples in California who sought to have their union legally recognized have children already. Good friends of ours in California finally, after years of fighting, had their family legally recognized and on safe and stable footing. Their children finally had a stable family. In fact, this is the only family their children had ever known, with parents who love and support them only to have that security ripped from them and leave their family in legal instability. Had they still been living in Utah where gay adoption is still illegal, if the biological mother was to die suddenly the children would be taken from their home, as their “other mother” is legally a stranger even though she was there with them throughout their entire life. I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree with the adage “it takes both a mother and a father to raise a child properly.” What happened to “it takes a village?”  

Recently I discovered that “Marriage” however you define it, is not a federally protected status. Unless your state specifically states in its constitution that you can not discriminate based on marital status, you can be discriminated against as easily as if you were gay. So, what exactly are we protecting? A non-federally protected binding contract that guarantees inheritance rights, power of attorney, a right to be listed on each other’s insurance and the ability to files taxes together? Are we saying that gay people are not able-minded adults who are of legal age who can agree to enter into a legal binding contract? No, of course not, because that is where god comes into play.

Remember people, this country doesn’t have a separation of church and state officially. Sure, its been said enough times that people accept it as a matter of course and the ruling may have been held up in a Supreme Court, but we have no official statement that says that church and state are separate, and shall remain as such. God is a hot button issue for many people as far as the gay issue is concerned. Everyone has heard “protect the sanctity of marriage,” and I ask “What sanctity?”  If Britney Spears can get married in Las Vegas, lose her virginity, and get divorced two days later, the sanctity of marriage was violated a long time ago. If your argument is from a moral religious standpoint, then take it to church. If you believe that it is against god, listen to your preacher from the pulpit, but please, keep it out of my government. And to those people out there who feel that way, I ask you a question. “How does it affect you?” If you feel your marriage loses meaning if two people who love each other and want to try to find some joy in this rather bleak world, then perhaps your marriage was meaningless to begin with. And if you feel that your god would look badly upon people who only want a legal status for their love, love that is the basic foundation for religion, then is really that the loving and merciful truth you hold true to?

It is with these moral and political convictions that I attended the November 8th Prop 8 rally at the LDS Temple Square in Salt Lake. The LDS church, even though they have a tax-exemption and therefore not supposed to donate to political causes donated a large, yet to be fully disclosed sum of money to the cause, and it upset a lot of people, gay and liberal minded straight people alike. We were over a two thousand strong, with flags and signs waiving. We chanted, we sang, and we felt a strong solidarity in our joined effort, and left a message. We won’t take this issue lying down.


25 comments

  1. Interesting to see the pushback from within the Citadel.  What about that “yet to be determined” financial support from the church?  Any status on that being revealed?  Who is looking into it?

  2. ragekage

    And hopefully this will spurn a moderation of the politics up there; one can only hope, anyway. Awesome diary, ma’am, thank you for sharing it with us!  

  3. I read this via RSS on the ride to work.  I love it, love it, love it!

    There is nothing wrong and everything right – with equality.

    Those who seek to dehumanize others in the name of God or greed (and, it’s always the latter but the freaks don’t have the guts to admit it), are the true enemies of liberty.  They always strike from within the safety of the society.  

    Thanks for writing this!  I look forward to more of your voice.

    -gadfly

  4. Holli De Groote

    and welcome to the Moose from a lesbian in Minnesota. We need more lesbians here and I am doing my very best to convert everyone. I think Kysen is now a lesbian and am working on Chris and Spaceman ;~D

    Thank you for your excellent article. When I think of Utah, I usually shudder, so it is really nice to think of you out there showing them the real world.

  5. Kysen

    We like ‘bonafide lesbians’ round these parts….no matter what part of the country they hearken from (though your views from the Red State of Utah will be a welcome addition here).  😉 Actually, we like Moose of all stripes and love New Moose the mostest!

    Thank you for posting your diary here, your views are clear and concise, and your arguments are sound. Very moosey, indeed. I hope we see more diaries from you….and I hope to see you jump into the comment threads…I promise we don’t bite.  😉

    Photobucket

  6. Neef

    I ask “What sanctity?”  If Britney Spears can get married in Las Vegas, lose her virginity, and get divorced two days later, the sanctity of marriage was violated a long time ago.

    Yeah, right? But to listen to some of these people, marriage is only ever Photobucket

  7. stellar diary.  this part had me arm pumping.

    If your argument is from a moral religious standpoint, then take it to church. If you believe that it is against god, listen to your preacher from the pulpit, but please, keep it out of my government. And to those people out there who feel that way, I ask you a question. “How does it affect you?” If you feel your marriage loses meaning if two people who love each other and want to try to find some joy in this rather bleak world, then perhaps your marriage was meaningless to begin with.

    keep em coming…

  8. bam

    ‘Ms. McGee’ has always been a bit of a “trouble maker”, from the time she felt that a fellow, non-white student in her fifth-grade class was being discriminated against and she staged a walkout! Fifth Grade! She has never looked back. How wonderful.

    It runs in the family. her sister has founded the first Young Democrats club in her High School here in Utah County, got over 100 kids to join and campaign for Obama, and staged debates with the heavily funded Young Republicans club, which they immediately called off after she trounced them in the first debate. Needless to say, The YD club at the University of Utah is quite enthusiastic about her attending there in the fall.

    And yes, we are active LDS members. It may seem like an oxymoron, but the reality is that most of what people find objectionable is the ‘culture’ of Mormonism, and the distinct inability of most members (mostly here in Utah and Orange County, CA) to differentiate between essential doctrines and their tortured interpretations of policy and  statements from the pulpit.

    Of course, many folks don’t differentiate much between these two things. But I tried the other branches of Christian and non-Christian denominations, and for me, their doctrines were rather bland. So here I sit. Surprisingly, there is a small but growing community of fellow ‘Saints’ who see the world the same way I do, and I don’t feel quite so trapped here behind the Zion Curtain.

    Besides, what fun is it being an outspoken liberal where a majority of folks agree with you?

  9. Interesting reading from an interesting perspective.

    Sightly OT – Watched Milk tonite. I thought Sean Penn definitely deserved his Oscar nomination. I was struck by how relevant the movement in the late 70’s is to today’s struggle. We’ve come quite a way already, but there are still Anita Bryants out there. She was the representative of the type of people Reagan would appeal to for his first win. That’s when the Religious Wrong and the Gang Of Pirates got in bed together. Can’t you just see Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell snuggled up together with Larry Craig sandwiched between them? eeewwww!

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