CAPITOL ILL

UT Pols Too Busy Sucking Up To Eagle Forum To Pass Popular Anti-Discrimination Bill

After a gay-inclusive anti-discrimination law got tabled in the Utah Legislature earlier this month—the fifth year in a row that’s happened—the state’s LGBT community decided it was time to let the politicians know they’re pissed off. So they’ve announced the Human Dignity Rally, a demonstration today from 4pm to 6pm on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City. More than 300 people expected including Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis, out lawmaker Rep. Brian Doughty (D-Salt Lake City) and drag persona Sister Dottie Dixon.

More than a dozen towns and cities already have ordinances protecting orientation and gender identity, but the move is now to get one adopted statewide. As the Salk Lake Tribune reports, nearly 75% of Utahns support such a law, as do the Catholic Diocese of Utah and the Mormon Church.

So what’s the friggin’ hold up?

Activists are saying right-wing lobbying groups—specifically the Eagle Forum, Phylis Schafley’s anti-choice, anti-marriage-equality, anti-vaccination gang of kooks—have gotten the ear of the Utah Legislature despite broad support for the bill. When it went before a Senate committee, Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka was only one of two people who spoke against the measure before it was tabled. (Ruzickas, by the way, has also tried to block screenings of Brokeback Mountain and called GSAs “gay recruiting tools.”)

“It was so symbolic of what seems to happen up there,” rally promoter Weston Clark told the Trib’s Rosemary Winters. “The legislators are not listening to the public. They’re listening to the lobbyists and the Gayle Ruzickas.”

Fellow organizer Bob Henline is even more fed up: He started listing names and home addresses of Eagle Forum leaders, calling them “a**holes” and “bigots” and suggesting readers confront them.  He said his views were not those of the rally but that, “quite frankly, I think sitting down and talking with these people has failed.”

We agree, but paying them a visit might not be a good idea: Redneck homophobes are usually big gun nuts.

Photo: Sean Breazeal