Overstock.Com Executive Wants To Protect Utah Churches From Marriage Equality

prod10375JonathanJohnsonIn an effort to create an issue where none to date exists, the executive vice chairman of (headquartered in Salt Lake City) is forming a political action committee to protect churches from the onslaught of marriage equality. Specifically, Johnson wants to ensure that churches do not have to perform same-sex weddings if they don’t want to.

“I’m surprised that anyone thinks that the government should force religions to do things,” he told the Deseret News. “But because the religious liberties issue today is so tied to the same-sex marriage issue, I can see why it’s a sore spot for people.”

Johnson’s committee, First Freedom PAC, sprung to life in the wake of the Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA. Johnson wants to amend the state constitution to ban any requirement that churches marry same-sex couples.

The problem is that Johnson is raising money on the basis of a red herring. Every state that has marriage equality has provisions exempting churches from performing marriages if they don’t want to. Why Utah would need to amend its constitution to enshrine that ban is a mystery.

Except that Johnson’s comments were made to the newspaper owned by the Mormon Church, in response to a survey that showed 57% of Utah residents oppose marriage equality. Johnson (and presumably the Church) are freaked out that a small percentage of respondents thought that church’s should follow civil law.

“It makes me feel like if a same-gender couple goes to an orthodox Jewish rabbi and says, ‘Marry us in your synagogue,’ the 22 percent would say he has to say yes,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s concern for the 5,600 Jewish residents of Utah is touching, considering how the Mormon Church didn’t seem all that bothered by its offensive policy of baptizing Jews posthumously.

Just as interesting is the comparison between the Mormon-owned paper’s poll and the secular Salt Lake Tribune.  The Tribune’s poll, published a few days before the Deseret News’, had the state evenly split on marriage equality, 48% to 48%.

So who are you going to believe? Well, here’s one tip off: the Tribune quoted both supporters and opponents of marriage equality in its story. The Deseret News provided advertorial for Johnson and no corresponding response from the pro-equality side.

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  • balehead

    So now there’s going to be a sale???

  • Taliaferro

    They just don’t get it, do they? We want CIVIL recognition of our unions, not religious sanction of them. This is just another attempt to scare people who lack the thinking skills to reason about life in general and this in particular. What a maroon, as Bugs Bunny would say!

  • miguel8899

    We already have the 1st amendment

  • Rambie

    What a asshat. They also just announced they’ll take BitCoin as payments for purchases at Overstock. They’ve already gone through bankruptcy at least once and once the bitcoin bubble breaks I wonder if they’ll do it again.

  • doug105

    Remind me who wanted special rights again?

  • Fitz

    Disappointed. Closed my account. No Church can be compelled to perform any marriage. The attempt to frame this in that language is fear mongering and lies, and thinly disguised homophobia. The Mormon church won’t marry two Jews, either. Or two Atheists. A church can decide who it does services for, this is about who a STATE recognizes. And the know that.

  • Horse Lips

    I just sent them an email stating my displeasure and canceling my account.

  • tricky ricky

    this is jut a scam to make some money gay bashing.

  • Billysees

    The opening sentence says much, “In an effort to create an issue where none to date exists…”

    Taliaferro — “This is just another attempt to scare people who lack the thinking skills to reason about life in general and this in particular. What a maroon, as Bugs Bunny would say!”

    tricky ricky — “this is jut a scam to make some money gay bashing.”

    Fitz — good comment.

    All good comments here.

    When I read about this kinda stuff, I’m even more convinced how and why conservative religiosity is so sickening especially when one person draws attention to himself as some kind of savior.

  • Harley

    So when is the Overstock Appreciation day scheduled. Just wondering. Maybe they have an overstock of chick-fil-a sandwiches with that oh so sweet bigotry sauce. Tasty.

  • AuntieChrist

    Didn’t I see an ad for on Logo as I was FF through the commercials..??? Saw Connie and Carla for the first time it was kinda funny.

  • Fitz

    So, I sent them an email and closed my account. In 2013 I spent about 4 grand there on gifts and crap.. so I was a fairly regular (i.e. compulsive, lol) shopper. I got back a form letter telling me about how wonderful Overstock is to it’s LGBT staff, and an “on a personal note” from someone who I presume is a dyke, saying that she has always felt welcome there, and that this is a first amendment issue. PATHETIC… this is about what I said above.. someone intentionally confusing the concepts of a church service and a civil liberty. When she is an old woman she will be ashamed of being on the wrong side of history. I urge you all to email them and close your accounts if you have them.

  • SteveDenver

    The right for churches to discriminate will remain unchanged, AS LONG AS THEY DON’T USE THEIR FACILITIES TO MAKE MONEY FROM MARRIAGE.

    This is what was faced in Hawaii: a great many TAX EXEMPT organizations used their grand edifices as rental properties for events. They were told they would need to change their business model or extend public accommodations to gays and lesbians. A few churches changed, the rest decided to actively welcome gays and lesbians.

    Looks like “The O” won’t be seeing any more of my money and I’ll definitely let my friends know.

  • Vegas Tearoom

    It’s funny when paranoid religious “leaders” think we’ll treat them like they treat us. Bunch of stone throwers.

Comments are closed.