Gay Rights Strategy: Take Utah By Anti-Discrimination Town By Town

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A Preface to My Holladay Friends and Neighbors:

I ask for your patience in how often I hammer your inboxes with news and urgent alerts. These are the times we’re in, and I’m trying to be helpful and to keep you informed. I do not typically send my usual updates on a variety of topics. Instead, I keep your email alerts focused on the religious liberty issues, unless you inform me that you wish to receive updates on other moral and family issues.

So I appreciate your being open to new information because while the matter of gay marriage may be clear to most, thetopic of anti-discrimination ordinances is very much misunderstood, especially how it relates to the marriage issue and the negative consequences of passing such laws.

For those of you that have not been involved in the debates taking place in the public square surrounding the definition of marriage and gay rights, it is not always as you may hear on the radio, read in the paper or watch on TV. Sometimes it is difficult to get our message out because most newsrooms today have pro-gay biases.

This topic is definitely the most difficult of all the debates we ever undertake in the public square. That’s because no matter how kind and civil we are in this discussion, we will always be called “bigots” and “hatemongers.”

For my own disclaimer, I do not hate, but I do consider homosexuality (the behavior) a sin, based on my religious beliefs and self-evident truth.

In 1997-2001 I owned a performing arts business in New York City in which 50% of my staff was gay. I have observed that discrimination in the work place is rather overblown and because of anti-discrimination laws already in place, I’m also aware that they are widely abused and can cause havoc in the workplace.

So overblown are they, I learned that not only does the City of Holladay not have an anti-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, it also has never had ANY anti-discrimination ordinance at all! In spite of that, it has never had a single discrimination claim.

Through all the angst, one needs to keep a sense of humor. That says something about Holladay now, doesn’t it? We must be a fairly civil bunch over on the east bench to never have needed any form of anti-discrimination ordinances all these years.

But then, that also begs the question: Why does Holladay now need an entire overhaul that – from experience elsewhere – will only adversely impact business and the community’s “prosperity,” its “safety,” “comfort” and “convenience?” Those are key words in the text of the proposed ordinance and should be noted in this discussion.

In fact, only three complaints have been brought forward out of all 18 anti-discrimination jurisdictions in Utah, and all three have been dismissed.

That also says a lot about the state of Utah.

However, Utah has taken a dramatic turn, forced on its residents by one judge’s federal ruling on December 20, 2013, even though the U.S. Supreme Court had previously ruled that the matter not a federal concern but was up to the various states.

A Rumor and Some Facts About Anti-Discrimination

I’m told that the LDS Church supports this anti-discrimination ordinance. Yet, I’m not aware of any anti-discrimination law that the LDS Church has supported beyond that original Salt Lake ordinance.

The LDS Church has also not supported any anti-discrimination bill at the state legislature during the sessions since that Salt Lake ordinance, even though some religious exemptions are included, as was the case with the Salt Lake ordinance.

However, the LDS Church does support its statement, The Proclamation on the Family, that clearly defines “gender identity” as an eternal sex assignment, contrary to the language of proposed anti-discrimination ordinances now being proposed.

The times have changed, and experience has taught us what the real purpose of this anti-discrimination campaign is: to overturn Utah’s Marriage Law – Amendment 3.

A long-planned strategy to take down Utah’s constitutional marriage law has included a town-by-town strategy: to pass as many “anti-discrimination ordinances” as possible during the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals challenge.

No state has legalized gay marriage without passing anti-discrimination laws, especially at the state level.

Utah has 18 cities or towns that have passed “anti-discrimination” in employment and housing ordinances. That title is as misleading as is President Obama’s “Affordable Care Act.” The only thing “universal” about that health care law is that it is not affordable.

Likewise, the anti-discrimination measures actually prove to be the opposite of their title: In practice, they are the precise vehicles to legalize discrimination and persecution – against churches, synagogues, mosques and especially their adherents that still believe homosexual relationships are a sin against their God’s laws.

Watch this video to get a glimpse of the Massachusetts experience.

Utah’s leadership team in the State legislature has agreed not to introduce any gay-related legislation during the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals challenge in which the Attorney General’s office is defending that Constitutional Amendment 3 so as not to negatively impact the outcome. We hope that will continue to be the case throughout the 45-day session now underway.

The Holladay Story

Not so in the towns. On February 6, 2014, the City of Holladay, an upper-crust bedroom community, proposed its non-discrimination proposal with the intent to pass it on February 20, 2014. Although he is a successful businessman and a likeable man, the new Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle is not a conservative nor a Republican. (Democrats in Utah typically call themselves “independent” to get elected in Republican communities).

The citizens did not take notice when prominent Republicans were backing his opponent Blaine Anderson – names such as Josh Romney and the former Mayor Dennis Webb, Anne-Marie Lampropoulos, Salt Lake County Republican Chairman Chad Bennion, and another Republican contender who did not make the cut, attorney Helen Redd.

To his credit, Rob Dahle did a few things right to get elected.  He served as the Cottonwood Club’s president, and we love that club. So do many Holladay families – their children participate in the tennis and swim activities throughout the summer months and it’s a center of networking. Dahle also created a massive yard sign campaign, which can win local races.

But he was not the conservative choice in the November election, and he has since endorsed this gay rights proposal. His “independent” friends must have known that. He garnered a mix of liberal Republican/Democrat endorsements.  Red Flag.

Those of us who are actively engaged in the political process knew that those endorsements would be bad news because no Democrat is going to support a pro-family, pro-Life, pro-marriage candidate, especially when they are names such as Rep. Carol Spackman Moss – one of the most liberal women in the Utah State Legislature, but also one of the most well-liked teachers Holladay natives had in school.

The other Democrat endorsement Dahle got, the new Salt Lake County Mayor, Democrat Ben McAdams, should have been a dead give-away. He won on a strong gay rights platform but also got the endorsement of a few out-there “Republicans.” It’s a pattern to watch out for.

Now Dahle is advocatingthis measure with the assistance of several of the six Council members – the majority of whom are also among those “independents.”

In addition, the United Church of Christ, a local liberal denomination that has departed from its Christian Biblical teachings in support of gay marriage, showed up in large numbers to support the ordinance.

Not much notice was given, and only two people rose to oppose it, unrepresentative of the true demographics of this community. Rather it speaks to the long-standing trust that good people have been elected to represent their values and principles because they are their friends and neighbors.

Watch Fox 13’s clip of the short debate here:

This is where we separate the men from the boys. Religious adherents from Holladay that believe in the universal and global standard that God’s law does not recognize gay marriage or the gay lifestyle must come together, organize and take action if they hope to live in a community that will protect their religious liberty in the future.

That may mean that Holladay citizens might need to do something outside of their comfort zone, such as to disagree with a friend or neighbor on the City Council – or the Mayor himself – because some have known them in business or in the neighborhood, at church or at the Club.

And they’re good people. Of course, they are. And it’s not easy to stand against a friend. Of course it’s not.  But, my friends, they may be about to vote wrong – knowingly or unknowingly – in a way that will be harmful to your children, your business or your safety, and we do need to speak up.

Your voice could – and will – make a difference in the outcome.  I’ve seen it happen all too many times.

Here are six steps to take today if we are to make a difference:

Step #1:  Sign the petition to the right NOW – before the working meeting Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 4:30 PM. Your name will be given to the Mayor and City Council Members.

Step #2: Contact the Mayor and City Council Members today and tell them to vote NO on this proposal.

Here are the concerns surrounding anti-discrimination ordinances.

  • Utah towns must first educate themselves about what non-discrimination ordinances have done in other states. 
    Tell your City Council members to please watch this video produced by Brian Camenker of Massachusetts’s foremost pro-family organization before voting on this ordinance
  • Not only is this a bad ordinance, but this is the wrong time.
    If Utah cities pass anti-discrimination ordinances while taxpayers are funding the appeals process through the Court to defend Utah’s Amendment 3, it could backfire and send a negative message to those judges.  In fact, it could put Utah’s entire case – and our tax dollars funding it – in jeopardy.
  • This proposed ordinance will legalize the LGBT’s intended consequences that cause fear, confusion, an invasion of privacy and loss of safety.

    Because of the “gender identity” language of the proposed ordinance, which is similar to that used in Massachusetts, experience has shown in that state that such an ordinance would allow people of either sex to have access to any bathroom, locker room or shower facility because citizens can simply say that they “identify” with that “gender.”  This means that boys could not be prevented – by ordinance – from using girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, etc.

    Although this may sound absurd or unthinkable, this is actually happening in other cities where anti-discrimination ordinances have passed. In fact, one of the more recent examples is a 5th grade Massachusetts boy who “identifies” with the female gender who is being allowed to use the girls’ bathroom by state law and local non-discrimination laws. 

    This is unsafe for the protection of women in public restrooms, not to mention an invasion of privacy at all ages. Some large companies and public facilities such as airports are attempting to accommodate these ordinances by providing a costly third option, a transgender bathroom/locker room.  But that has not satisfied the transgendered.  They simply threaten to file lawsuits against the town for singling them out when they really “identify” with either the male or female gender.  This is a costly and unnecessary measure.

  • This ordinance is not needed.
    In Utah, 18 cities have already passed anti-discrimination ordinances.  Only three complaints were issued in 2013, and all three were dismissed.
  • Holladay has never had any anti-discrimination ordinance protecting anything, and it has never had a single complaint.

  • Experience also shows that discrimination is not the goal, rather unalienable rights are at stake.
    We now have evidence that the goal is to eliminate a citizen’s Constitutional right to freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, the right to make a living and own private property, the right to privacy, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.
  • This ordinance is dangerous because it protects religious entities, but it does not protect their adherents that own property and businesses.
    During the passage of the Salt Lake City ordinance, the LDS Church said it would not agree to the ordinance unless religious entities were exempted.  However, that then left their own religious adherents in harm’s way, and it had a serious backlash at the state legislature during the next session. 

    The LDS Church has not publicly endorsed any anti-discrimination proposal since. However, its Proclamation on the Family clearly states that gender is an eternal assignment, not one “sincerely held” or “perceived.” Examples exist to show how business owners who have religious beliefs have been harmed in other states where non-discrimination ordinances and laws have passed.

  • This kind of policy discriminates against the many to protect the few.
    Where these ordinances have passed around the country, the stage has been set to protect only a small group of people. Evidence now exists to prove that gay rights activists are given special rights and protections to persecute others.  In this sense, it might best be named the “reverse discrimination ordinance.”

Step #3:  Attend the Holladay City Council working meeting to listen to the discussion and take notes. This agenda item is #7 and last on the agenda. No public comment is allowed in this meeting.

February 13, 2014, 5:30 PM, Holladay City Council Chambers, 4580 S 2300 E, Holladay, Utah

Contact Information:
Stephanie or Randy

Step #4:  Attend the City Council Meeting on February 20, 2014, 6:00 PM, Holladay City Council Chambers. 4580 S 2300 E, Holladay, Utah

Contact Information:
Stephanie or Randy

Step #5: Share this information with your friends and neighbors and ask them to do the same. 

Step #6:  Help the American Leadership Fund with a generous donation so we can have a stronger voice in who represents us. Click on the donate tab above.