Inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance Passed in SLC

I had a friend – a former bishop and active member of the LDS Church send me an e-mail this morning.   He wrote:

Also, to help me understand the significance (or lack thereof) of this development, I would appreciate your comments.

Below is what I wrote him back.  I thought it was probably worth sharing.

My response isn’t  sugar coated and I hope he didn’t take offense as  it reflects my honest feelings about this new non-discrimination ordinance.  I am thrilled to have it.  But perhaps I’ve been shoved into the ground so much by this organization that there isn’t a whole lot of trust.  I guess time will tell.

Dear Friend,

I am happy to share my comments about the non-discrimination ordinance. My feeling is that the Mormon church had to do something to save face. During Prop 8, high ranking Mormon officials routinely said that this wasn’t about gay people/this was about marriage.

From Equality Utah’s Website…..

During and following California’s Proposition 8 campaign, the LDS Church declared it is not “anti-gay” and “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights.” On November 5th, Elder L. Whitney Clayton stated the LDS Church does not oppose “civil unions or domestic partnerships.”

Yet after Prop 8, Equality Utah came out with the Common Ground Initiative and there was a solid wall of silence from the church. Add in the public relations nightmare of the Main Street Plaza arrests and the subsequent Kiss-ins that made National news and it seemed that the Mormon Church’s hypocrisy on this issue was completely exposed. I also think that this is a very personal and painful issue to many in the church. For a Church that touts the importance of the family, there are so many families being torn apart because of the gay son or daughter, niece, nephew etc.

So I am not entirely sure that the “motives” are completely pure. Yet, I am not positive the motives were pure in the 1970s when African Americans were finally allowed to hold the priesthood. Still, the political and personal change within the church since then has been astronomical. I truly believe that this (like the priesthood issue) is the start of a shift in the rhetoric and policies of the church. Are we on our way to same-sex marriage? No. Obviously. And I’m glad we’re not. Without Amendment 3, I don’t think the Church ever would have felt comfortable endorsing any civil rights for gays while the thought might be that it will lead to marriage. But in a post-Amendment 3 era, it just looks mean-spirited to not allow anything while marriage is so protected in this state. For so long, the “talk” hasn’t matched the “walk.” And this brings it more in line.

The Church in Utah is a major shaper of public policy and so, yes. This is huge. And the impact on individual gay and lesbians cannot be understated. Especially in a recession like this one, the fact that we cannot be fired or denied housing in SLC protects many of us. Truth is we need these protections statewide (Discrimination is more likely to occur in Roosevelt than Salt Lake anyway in my view.) And we still need to address the co-parent adoption issue.

The people who are making a big stink for “marriage” are in places fully protected like Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York etc. They have the privilege to want “full” equality. Here, I’m happy to take the scraps because it is so much more than has ever been allowed to me before. And, on a more personal note, Riley heard this on the radio today and almost wept with happiness (he is a drama queen). To him, this symbolizes safety. He knows his moms won’t lose our jobs or we won’t lose our house. Were we at risk of that? No, but he doesn’t know that and many of the most vulnerable in society (targeted by multiple issues of oppression) are at a much greater risk of facing this discrimination. When I was at EU, I got the numbers each month from the Labor Commission of who tried to file a discrimination claim based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the numbers were always shocking. And each number represented a life that was so unfairly impacted and the Labor Commission could do nothing to fend off this discrimination or even provide recourse once it had happened.

It is huge. And the church statement says that they are trying to follow what Jesus Christ taught. I’m all for that.


3 Responses to “Inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance Passed in SLC”

  1. Kaye Says:

    Nice! No need to sugar coat anything. We have been doing it for too long.

  2. The other sister Says:

    Bark Bark. Thanks for the bone.

  3. Carrie Says:

    Nice letter sis….send it to the Editors of Salt Lake’s papers.

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