Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You, Too, Can Lobby for Gay Rights

[Utah Legislature 2009]Equality Utah, eager to see the 2009 Utah Legislature adopt its "Common Ground Initiative" of six gay rights bills, will sponsor an evening of citizen lobbyist training Thursday.

The free workshop runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 445 of the State Capitol. Anyone interested in lobbying for human rights issues in Utah is enthusiastically encouraged to attend, says Keri Jones, program manager with Equality Utah.

State Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake City, will be on hand to advise the best ways to approach lawmakers and to discuss the Common Ground Initiative--which includes proposals for fair housing, workplace and inheritance rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. Equality Utah will also be running a gay adoption bill again.

Salt Lake City Democratic Reps. Jennifer Seelig, Christine Johnson and Rebecca Chavez-Houck will also discuss the Common Ground bills they are sponsoring.

I asked Equality Utah's Jones why Utahns sympathetic to gay causes should even attend, given the openly hostile environment toward GLBT folks from so many neanderthals on the Hill. And why should they care, given the fact that Utahns did their own big part to fund the passage of Proposition 8 in California.

"Largely because of the marriage debate [in Hawaii and later California], Americans are now faced with questions of what protections should be available to loving [same-sex] couples. Utah hasn't answered that question and it's time for us to do so," Jones says.

Some of the bills in question will require widespread legislative support and "may not pass this year," says a hopeful Jones. "But we remain optimistic and ready to work hard."

Whether you're gay or straight, you may want to give these folks a hand. Strength in numbers and all of that. They'll save a chair for you Thursday night at the Capitol. (Holly Mullen)


  1. Your reference to the legislators -- the very people who workshop participants will be trained to lobby -- as "neanderthals on the Hill", won't help the cause one bit, Ms. Mullen.

  2. Hold your breath for Utah haters to pass gay equal rights Bills...yeah do that honey.

    LDS will be taught a CIVICS LESSON by queers outside of Utah when we crater your 6 Billion in tourism. we are already making Sundance a MAJOR FLOP this year.
    tickets are available for MOST showings, gay skiers have cancelled their trip, and an art gallery which normally rents out their gallery to a corporate sponsor had NO TAKERS.

  3. I don't understand the concept of boycotting Sundance to "show the Mormons."

    The Mormons hate Sundance.

    Better strategy is needed here, methinks.

  4. Also, I just tried to purchase tickets in the out of state ticket pools for the festival, and it would seem anonymous above knows not what he/she is talking about. All showings I attempted were already sold out. My friends tell me the same for the local ticket sales. Anywhooo, I'm just saying, boycotting Sundance is shooting off your nose, etc. Many of the greatest films in gay cinema have found their first voice at the festival. And it also makes us look whiney.

  5. "Your reference to the legislators -- the very people who workshop participants will be trained to lobby -- as "neanderthals on the Hill", won't help the cause one bit, Ms. Mullen."


  6. Ms. Mullen preaches that public reaction, even negative reaction, to CW articles is good. She also believes name calling to get that reaction is proper writing technique. That is why all Utahan’s are “Slobs” and all legislators are “Neanderthals.” It is surprising because she also preaches that broad labeling statements are discriminatory and are wrong. I guess this is just another example of someone not practicing what they preach.

    Public reaction to edgy well written articles is good. Holly – Please stop taking the short cuts and cheap shots and go back to the journalism that you can do so well- edgy, thought provoking, and informative.

  7. In the interest of (fairly) presenting the other (right and responsible) side of the issue, I ran across this newsletter item this morning.

  8. How about posting a link to lobby against gay rights to be fair.

  9. While name calling won't help hopefully Utah can make some progress towards fair rights for everyone. Gay rights are not some "slippery slope". All people are people, regardless of anything else that happens in their lives... The only way it is fair to remove rights is if they are a convicted criminal; until then current laws (or lack thereof) are just unacceptable.


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