Don’t let the LDS Church’s support of a non-discrimination ordinance fool you: The Mormon Church remains, thoroughly and proudly, anti-gay. Not only did a church official testifying before the Salt Lake City Council remind everyone as much, but now homophobic conservatives are reaching into their dark recesses of bigotry to put it on blast.
The reason LDS supports adding sexual orientation to Salt Lake’s housing and employment protected classes is because doing so, according to LDS public affairs managing director Michael Otterson, “does not do violence to the institution of marriage.” Well gee, thanks!
But blogger Mike DeVine, of the conservative blog Minority Report, wants to make sure nobody confuses LDS’s support for non-discrimination with the church’s support of homosexuals. You know, in case that wasn’t blatantly clear already.
I and most conservatives (especially including social conservatives) do not favor any government imprimatur of approval for any sexual behavior outside traditional marriage. Moreover, conservatives generally favor that rights protected by the constitution be of the individual variety, rather than group rights, especially those of a “mutable” variety such as what one Delores one’s particular “orientations” to be, as opposed to the immutable characteristics of race and gender/sex.
But, we do favor prohibitions of discrimination based on religion/free speech, so in that sense people of faith could justify the Salt Lake City ordinance as prohibiting mind control. One can believe anything one wishes and still expect to be able to rent property and get a job one is otherwise qualified for. Of course, if the particular beliefs and/or speech rise to the level of advocacy that interferes with the workplace environment and/or property owners’ maintenance of a habitable environment for families, then one could distinguish.
We particularly like to avoid such group distinctions when one would seek to mete out civil penalties and criminal punishments for free speech against certain behaviors or seek to diminish the value of the lives of certain groups by making it a more serious crime to harm people in other groups, especially when accompanied by a requirement to determine an “intent to hate”.
That is: Being gay is the same thing as being a crazy person who believes the plot of the film 2012 will come true, since neither should preclude you from finding an apartment. And while being gay is a “mutable” characteristic — something someone chooses, and can change! — it must be protected in housing and employment because not doing so would permit “mind control.”