Utah: A Hornet’s Nest That Gays & Lesbians Call ‘Home’

20090124__gayrightsmarch_01252_gallerySay “Utah” to a gay man or lesbian woman and you might as well have force them to suck on a lemon. To LGBT people, the Beehive State has become a hornet’s nest of homophobia and hate. Since November, the state has ben under a constant threat of boycott. The Utah Gay Ski Week was canceled, Americablog’s John Aravosis calls it a “hate state” and there’s even a site called utahboycott.com.

When it comes to hatin’ on Utah, we’ve become no better than the people who discriminate against us. To steal another state’s motto, you’ve got a friend in Utah. In fact, you have many, many friends in Utah. Instead of abandoning them to the wolves, it’s time for us to differentiate our rightly justified anger at Mormon Church leaders from a state that has, in ways both small and large, been on the front lines of LGBT equality.

Salt Lake City’s Pride Parade is the second-largest parade of any kind in the state. This past weekend, hundreds of gay and straight LGBT equality activists marched for an initiative called Common Ground that takes the Mormon Church’s argument that they don’t object to equal protection for gays & lesbians and turns it into legislation that would do just that. Yesterday, the first portion of the bill died in committee. Utah’s gay & lesbians don’t need us ignoring the state. They need us involved, as a closer look at the fight inside the beehive proves.

pride_8166Salt Lake City: The Gay Capitol of Utah

You’d think that Salt Lake, the seat of the Mormon Church, would be a horribly conservative place, but it’s actually the most liberal part of the state. In 2000, Mayor Rocky Anderson won running on a platform that included support of gay marriage. Once in office, the Mayor signed an executive order creating domestic partnerships for city employees. Utahn conservatives kicked into high gear, with State Senator Chris Buttars accusing the mayor of having “attracted the entire gay community to come and live in Salt Lake County.” However, when a 2004 vote came trying to eliminate any form of gay marriage in Salt Lak, 63% of the city population voted against banning same-sex marriage.

The city is home to a thriving gay population. There are over a dozen gay and lesbian bars, (technically “private clubs” due to a weird city provision that’s not worth going into here), that range from an eco-friendly bar called JAM to a lesbian dive called Mo’ Diggity’s. 15,000 people marched in last year’s gay pride parade and the city, despite the dominance of Temple Square does not have a Mormon majority.

utah1A Fight for Gay Teens in Provo

Now, Provo Utah, is a crazy conservative backwater, but even there, people are fighting for gays and lesbians. In 2005, students at Provo High School created a gay-straight alliance. The Deseret News reported at the time:

“We have actually a lot of sexual harassment in the school that you really don’t notice until you sit down and think about it,” said Provo High senior Kaisha Medford. “It’s not (the administration of) Provo High’s fault. They’re doing everything they can. It’s just like commentary made by people. It’s a lot of things you hear in the classrooms, locker rooms.”

Medford and others are now leading the effort for the club. About 30 students have expressed interest.

“I haven’t heard any direct resistance,” Medford said. “I’ve heard a couple of people that were not in favor of it. I haven’t campaigned in the halls, but most of the people don’t seem to have a problem with it; and if they do, they haven’t expressed it.”

The students had been struggling, however, to find a teacher willing to act as an adviser until Provo High special education teacher Mary Athetosis stepped forward last month.

“I went to almost everyone in the school,” Medford said. “She was my last resort. I went to almost everyone I knew and some teachers I didn’t know and some teachers that said they might do it, and then said they wouldn’t. We basically went door-to-door” throughout the school.”

Some parents tried to shut the group down and the district refused. They then tried to make permission slips a requirement for all clubs and the district refused, saying that it would violate federal law. Finally, in desperation some parents argued that the club violated a state law that prevented schools from “discussing or promoting sexual activities except within marriage”, but district officials responded that they could not, and would not, infringe on their students free speech. The club remains to this day.

chrisjohnsonGays in the Legislature

Walk through the halls of power in Utah and you will find three openly gay state legislators. Christine Johnson and Jackie Biskupski serve in the State House and Scott McCoy serves in the Senate. All three represent Salt Lake City districts.

Johnson has used her postion to be a tireless advocate for gay and transgender people. Her signature bill extends nondiscrimination protections to gay and transgender Utahns, and in it’s laest incarnation extends that protection to housing as well. However, she’s quick to pint out that she is a representative for all the people she serves and points out that only 20% of the bills she works on are LGBT related. Still, she revels in being a progressive voice in Utah, telling QSaltLake:

“I’m also really pleased that my constituents are only supportive when I go out on a limb for them,. When I make a statement on the floor that’s perhaps a little more brazen or direct, or maybe [support] an unconventional theory that’s very left, instead of getting criticism from my constituents, they remember it and are very appreciative. I consider it a luxury to be that progressive voice on the Hill.”

Common Ground

The latest battle for LGBt equality in Utah is the state’s direct response to Prop. 8. Sponsored by Equality Utah, the initiative challenges the Mormon Church to live up to their dissembling rhetoric. After Prop. 8 passed,the Mormon Church says that it “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights” and so, the Common Grounds Initiative aims to put those very protections into law in Utah through four bills being introduced in the Senate this year.

It’s an uphill battle. Just yesterday, the first bill, introduced by Sen. Scott McCoy, which would extend wrongful death protections to gays and lesbians, died in committee.

At last weekend’s really in support of Common Ground, one gay California transplant to Utah explained that Utah doesn’t have the market cornered on hate:

“Thomas Rowbottom, a bisexual man from Sacramento, California, and Alex Bright, a gay man from Florida. Rowbottom describing how he lost his job at a hospital chain because of his sexual orientation. Even in states known for being gay-friendly, Rowbottom said, anti-gay discrimination is a problem.

Upon moving to Utah earlier this month, Rowbottom said he thought few people in the Beehive State cared about gay rights. But after seeing support for demonstrations like that day’s, Rowbottom said he was convinced that “the fight is not dead in Utah.”

So what do you think? Is boycotting Utah the best strategy or is the right response to get involved?

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  • Ed

    I used to go to a software conference every year in SLC – caught the last of the spring skiing, did some work, and partied like crazy. The weirdness of ‘private clubs’ took some explaining, but the nightlife was fun and the people were friendly. I was staying in the J.W. Marriot across from the temple every time. The first time, I knew I wanted to go to a particular gay bar I’d read about, so when I got my car from the valet, I asked them how to get to the address, not knowing if asking for directions to a gay bar would be well received. They immediately said “Oh, you want to go to xxxx? Here’s how.” They knew what was there, and it didn’t phase them. I guess a good valet would, but still, it surprised me at how simply they handled it.

    I went many times, always had a great time in the city, in clubs both gay and straight. The food was excellent, the people friendly, and the boys hot. I had many fun nights in SLC.

  • BillyBob Thornton

    yes, boycotting the state, does not mean not getting involved. I believe both are necessary.

  • Tim in SF

    When reading the article I couldn’t get past this sentence in the second paragraph:

    When it comes to hatin’ on Utah, we’ve become no better than the people who discriminate against us.

    What stupid thing to say. There is no equivalence. None. Gay people in California and elsewhere are not funding anti-Mormon initiatives in Utah. Our suck-on-a-lemon reaction is a completely rational and reasonable response to the situation.

    That is so obviously false and stupid a start that the article that follows must be ignored on principle: There is no reason to read an article that starts off so badly.

  • BillyBob Thornton

    Also, I think that gay organizations, gay owned companies, and gay inclusive organizations and companies(business, association, charity, etc) should actively seek services for meetings, conventions, and recreational activities in states that have passed discrimination laws to protect the LBGT community, strong anti-hate laws, and permit gay marriage. While making it known that is the reason for their choices.

  • Tim in SF

    And another thing – the page load time on this site is absurdly long.

  • Jonathan

    @Tim in SF

    Exactly. This is a stupide attempt to draw equivalence, where there is none. The outrage of the LGBT community at the organized Mormon Church’s efforts to strip us of civil rights and equality doesn’t make us haters. It makes us rational people who understand our political situation.

    And just because I am boycotting Utah doesn’t mean I won’t involve myself in the struggle for equality and dignity for all people there.

    Please, Queerty, try not to be silly.

  • Bruce

    Tough Love. I think the boycott isn’t about us hating anyone but trying to drive home a point. I think it should be obvious the Mormon Church hit us in our homes and the root of our families, and the only place we’ve hit back is the pocket book, which seems more hatefilled? I’m sorry that good people live in Utah, I’m sorry that good people sat there while the Mormon Church made us sound like recruiters of small children, I’m sorry that good people sat there and did nothing while a small portion of this great Country had their rights stripped from them. I feel violated and outraged, and if I can funnel my money somewhere else and it sends a message then I think it’s the right thing to do. The issue is that if I spend my money in Utah I’m certain some portion of it will make it to the Church, if I pay someone who belongs to the Church or an organization who is owned by the Church I’m contributing to lynching my rights. So don’t get upset with me if people are suffering because I’m closely watching where I’m spending, or what I’m doing, I just don’t want the next Mormon initiative to have me sent to a concentration camp or put into jail, because really if it comes down to it we are a minority and no minority wins at the polls againts the majority that has been taught to hate that minority for no reason other than how we choose to live our lives. So I’m sorry, I’m sure not everyone who lives in Utah is hateful and evil, but a large Church/Corporation does and they no longer need my money or support.

  • dfrw

    I am inclined to agree with some of the guys on here. It is all well and good that there are gay people in Utah (if they want to stay there, that’s their choice) and helping them gain some rights is also worthwhile, but not by spending money in the state. I can promise you that Utah cares more about its Mormon residents than it does about its gay residents. You just have to think about taxes and the Mormom base is much larger than the gay base. Yes, one can make the argument that staying in the opposition’s face rather than leaving is the appropriate thing to do and to that I say, “that’s great, go ahead and pack your bags and move there, but I won’t be following.”

    I just moved to Massachusetts from Florida in October precisely because Florida is an anti-gay, bigoted state and the wingnuts can have it.

    Yep, I picked up my toys and went elsewhere and I am very happy that I did so. I took my tax money and my brains with me. Florida’s loss, Massachusetts’ gain.

  • Jeremy Jensen

    Boycott Utah if you must, but also make sure to boycott every state where any church that opposes gay marriage is in the majority. Otherwise, you’re singling out the Mormon church. That would be the act of someone who hates Mormons for being Mormon, and not for their stance on gay marriage.

  • Jon B

    Honestly, I am baffled by this post. First of all, how is it possible that you are surprised that Salt Lake is the most liberal part of Utah? The major city in any state is always the most liberal part of the state.

    Onto my main point, we need to get over this. Utah didn’t do anything wrong; certain Utahns did. But come on, what is boycotting Utah going to do? It’s not like gay tourism has the same meaning in Utah as it does in say, Florida – a state with numerous gay vacation spots and a sizable gay population. In Florida, the gay dollar means something. But what reason could we have to boycott Florida? It’s not like they recently helped pass a ban on gay marriage… oh, what’s that you say? They did? Hmmm… and they had ban on gay adoption as well?

    All of this anger towards Utah is misplaced. End of Story.

  • andy_d

    When I was traveling for business, I would try, as much as possible/feasible to frequent businesses that were GLBT-owned/operated (preferably) or GLBT friendly. I found that going into chatrooms and/or websites for those locales was most helpful.

    This was true when I would go to (among other cities) Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK; SLC, UT; and Denver, CO – after the hateful amendment passed but before it was struck down.

    I have heard, and consequently adopted, the term “GAYCOTT” to describe this type of consumerism.

    It is something to consider when one does not have much say where and when one must travel.

    I save BOYCOTTING for individual BUSINESSES, such as EXXON-MOBIL, which refuse grant equal rights to their employees.

    I still try to frequent those places that are GLBT owned/operated or GLBT friendly when I now travel for pleasure to support our community worldwide.

  • Topher in SLC

    As a queer Utahn who volunteered and donated to the “No on 8” campaign, I understand and share the frustration and anger directed toward the state and the Mormon church. But to lump them together into an inseparable object to be hated and boycotted by the rest of the world isn’t “rational.” It’s just lazy. And it makes us seem just as simplistic, just as divisive, and just as spiteful as our opponents.

    Yes, the church and it’s members dumped money into the Prop 8 trough. But it was California voters who ate it up and cast their ballots. Publicity and financial support ultimately made the difference. So, how do haters from out of state plan to support our GLBT community if they turn their attention and their funds away from Utah? What is rational about that?

    We have three GLBT-friendly business directories. SLC has been considered one of the top 51 “gay-friendly places to live” in the country. In addition to donating to “Yes on 8,” Utahns also donated over a million dollars to “No on 8” and we organized the largest “No on 8” phone bank outside of California. But for people like John Aravosis and Dan Savage, it’s easier to just write off Utah entirely.

    Utah GLBTs are still fighting for the most basic legal protections – employment and housing protections, hospital visitation, domestic partner benefits, adoption rights, etc. We don’t need any more of your contempt or righteous indignation, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!!

  • Timothy

    The purpose of placing emphasis on Utah is not that we can actually impact their economy. “Gays that visit Utah” just isn’t a big enough demographic.

    Where a boycott of Utah (well, in reality, of the Mormon Church) can be useful is in the self-perception of Mormons.

    At the moment Mormons are the most homophobic of all popular or powerful faiths. True, the Catholic Church is pretty bad but the voting Catholics don’t take marching orders from the church. And evangelicals – even Southern Baptists – just aren’t that motivated to contribute money or walk precints to enact anti-gay legislation. But the Mormons – including out of state – contributed between 47% and 70% of Yes on 8 funds and were 80-90% of their volunteers.

    We need to either destroy or change Mormons. And changing may be easier.

    Like most religious folk, Mormons (even the meanest and nastiest of them) like to think of themselves as good people. They believe that their faith leads them to work hard, treat their neighbors well, and be a blessing on those around them.

    We are challenging that notion.

    By making a public noise, we are making some Mormons notice us. And notice their own policies and behavior.

    The Church went so far as to claim that they don’t oppose ALL rights for gay couples… and then all four Mormons on the Judiciary committee voted that gay people cannot make a wrongful death claim when their partner is killed. Yes, they actually voted to deny the ability to sue for wrongful death.

    Decent people, including decent Mormons, will eventually see that their positions are causing real harm to real people. They will have to look in the eyes of those in pain and try to justify why they are hurting them. They will have to ask themselves if they truly think it is good, just, and right to tell a lesbian trying to raise kids that she has no recourse whatsoever that the careless actions of others killed the woman who brought home the bacon; now she should just starve.

    At some point they will feel shame. And when that happens, they will not be so quick to give their children’s college fund to anti-gay propositions.

    But they will look at themselves ONLY if we let them know that they are being a bad neighbor and a hurtful member of society. They can only feel shame for their evil behavior if we let them know that they are causing pain, harming the less advantaged, and taking actions to deliberately make the lives of others more difficult.

    And – at the moment – our best way of getting them to even consider the ramifications of their own behavior is find media – which seems to be by means of boycott.

  • Jon B

    @Timothy: Destroy? Seriously? What an ignorant thing to say. It takes much away from your actual argument which has sensible arguments. I have no problem with an all out balls-to-the-wall media brawl with any group that opposes our rights. We SHOULD fight, but we should fight SMART. Blanket boycotts with no hope of success nor adherence serve no purpose.

  • Timothy

    Jon B,

    Go back and re-read the sentence. I think you’ll find that I’m not advocating “destroying” anyone.

    It’s a rhetorical tool for making comparisons. Either destroy (an extreme impossibility) or change (a viable possibility).

    And you seem to have skimmed over the part where I discuss the purpose of a boycott. It is to get media attention and wake up those Mormons who truly want to be good neighbors. Thus is makes little sense to talk about “no hope of success” as though economic damage was the purpose.

  • Mary

    The hypocrisy of the gay agenda is unbelievable. As hard as I try to understand and sympathize with it, it is lost on me. The angry and hate-filled gay marches with signs and slogans which effectively said I hate you because I say you hate me. What a bizzare and twisted logic. I supported prop 8 because I want to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Now I’m told I hate gay people? Uh, no I don’t. Label me as you will, but I know what’s in my head and it isn’t what you say it is. Get over yourselves.

  • getreal

    @Jonathan: I actually agree demonizing a whole state or a whole group of people (blacks, christians, republicans) does make us any better than the homophobic people in those populations. We are right and we lose our moral upperhand on this issue when we are discrimnatory back.

    Also you are using the word equivilence wronghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivalence_relation

  • Garrik

    I don’t know if anyone knows, but most of the gay Europeans and their friends/family, from what I have seen on blogs and everyone else I know, are boycotting ALL USA products.

  • petted

    @Mary: Poor Mary is so ‘misunderstood’ boo-hoo. Given your choice of words and syntax, I think we have a ‘winner’ for hostility and anger. Mary wanting gay people not to be gay can only logically be considered bigotry – we didn’t say you hate ‘Bob’, we just think ‘Bob’ should never appoint you as his legal representative in the event he becomes incapacitated because you will not act in accordance with his beliefs. We also advise Bob to remove you from his ‘winter holiday’ letter list ;)

  • CPT_Doom

    The Utah legislature just voted against the most minimal recognition of gay and lesbian humanity – a law that would allow gay and lesbian surviving partners to sue for wrongful damages. Every single Mormon on the legislative panel reviewing the law voted against it, the non-Mormons were either absent or voted for it. That’s all we need to know.

    However, I don’t think boycotting only Utah is enough. We need to avoid every state that has passed viciously anti-gay hate laws and Constitutional amendments, including places like Virginia, Michigan and Ohio. This is not about economic damages for these places, but LGBT safety. Once a state, like Virginia, passes a law or amendment stripping gays and lesbians of any civil right, like marriage, every civil right for gays or lesbians is suspect. There is no reason to believe we will be guaranteed hospital care in an emergency, police involvement if we are victims of a crime, or any other form of basic respect straight citizens can expect. There are simply no more protections for us.

    I have to travel often for business, so I am forced to enter these states, but refuse to enter them for leisure purposes. I live in DC and resolutely refuse to cross the river into Virginia except to go to Dulles airport for work purposes. I do not shop in VA, eat in VA or even vist friends when they live in VA. I invite my VA friends to my house, but will not got to theirs, it simply isn’t safe.

  • CPT_Doom

    Oh, and Mary, unless you were married in a Roman Catholic Church, you are violating the traditional definition of marriage. As the nuns and priests taught me, the only way to be validly married is to be married in the Roman Catholic Church by a Roman Catholic priest. All other “marriages” are immoral lifestyle choices explicitly equal to homosexuality. That’s why I love to see fundamentalists on the TV “defending marriage.” Every one of them is either a fornicator or an adulterer.

  • TeleUte83

    Yes, please boycott Utah. More virgin powder for the non-imbeciles.

    Seriously, please rationalize for me how boycotting a state is an effective path for furthering our political rights.

    How does a boycott change the skewed perceptions of LGBT people that influence the minds of those who hate us? If you follow this boycott, are you not passing a judgment based on geography, that all people in Utah are politically and actively homophobic? That we all donated to support Prop 8?

    Is this not akin to the world boycotting the U.S. for our foreign policy that you may or may not have agreed with? (Which didn’t happen because the world understood that “American people” is not synonymous with the U.S. Government.)

    No, it’s actually worse because you’re assuming that Utah as a political entity passed CA Prop 8. The State of Utah is not run by the LDS Church. Boycott and petition the Church and all of the members whom WE KNOW donated to the campaign for hate, but don’t boycott a state because it’s the home of a particular religion.

    Maybe, just maybe, boycotting Utah because a ban on gay marriage passed in CALIFORNIA is passing the buck by the LGBT community and its supposed leadership for mounting an effective response to the proponents of Prop 8.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t stood up as I ought to for my rights for fear of retribution under DADT.. But I plan to change that.

    Don’t let a passive enthusiasm for this boycott keep you from being an ACTIVE protester for your rights.

    But, please at least boycott our virgin powder. The backcountry is crowded enough already.

  • Gary

    It is grossly offensive that you would suggest that “when it comes to hatin’ on Utah, we’ve become no better than the people who discriminate against us” – what a steaming crock of shit! How dare you suggest that the gay community’s fury and disgust at these people is not justified!

    We do not spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars dehumanizing Mormons, or working to take their rights away from them. We do not try to teach as many people as possible that they are sick, perverted, or a threat to other’s families (although they are). And, we sure as hell don’t commit such evil acts “in the name of Christ” like these hateful, hurtful scumbags do, every single day.

    Not to mention – the Utah legislature just voted to reject a very minor piece of legislation in support of gays. They hate us, and they take great pride and satisfaction in their hate – outright glee, as a matter of fact, and you have the gall do suggest this attitude is admirable?!

    You’re a fool Japhy – fags like you make me sick, you like a Jewish Nazi.

  • Kevin

    Simply put, we need cultural hegemony over the anti-gay Religious Right. Boycotts are not the answer. The answer is to promote the “tolerance, equality, individual liberty, seperation of church and state” meme.

    Cultural conservatives have done well in the culture war, which translates into real victories for them. We need to “shock and awe” their asses back to the caves they organize their religious terror movements from.

  • William

    As a Utah native, a former Mormon, and a current comrade in the journey toward justice, I can tell you why boycotting a state is stupid.

    It’s ineffective.
    It’s hard to measure success.
    The “state” can’t respond in an effective way.

    In contrast, I can certainly see the benefit of boycotting a specific store location.

    It is easy to measure success and discourage allies from shopping there.
    The store is able to respond in a way a “state” can’t.
    It has a much longer track record of success.

    Boycott Utah? Don’t turn your anger into stupidity. Find the nearest anti-shop and shut her down.

  • Brendan

    It shouldn’t be about boycotting a state or moving out or anything of the like. Stay and fight for your rights. Be as visible as possible and show the people in that state who don’t believe in equal rights for LGBT people that you’re there, you are a vital part of the community, and you deserve everything that they have.
    I come from Cobb County, GA, which is a place that passed a resolution in the 90s that said that they “don’t agree with the gay lifestyle”. As bigoted as many people in the county are, it is still the place I consider to be home and I am willing to fight for that. I also realize that because some people in a place are bigoted, that does not mean that EVERYONE is and it would be immature to punish everybody for a particular group’s actions.

  • Mikel

    As a straight Salt Laker, I have to say that none of my friends consider Salt Lake to be any part of Utah’s well-known and deservedly infamous political atmosphere. The reactionary mentality of the Mormon church absolutely runs things on a statewide basis and their medieval moral beliefs have poisoned the well of progressiveness for the foreseeable future, however much most of us in the capitol city may argue against them.

    So, when you think about boycotting Utah, please take into consideration that most of Salt Lake City and Park City are on your side. With a little research, it should be fairly easy to target a boycott where it would felt by the true enemies of social progress.

    And don’t back down. Remember, boycotts were a vital weapon employed during the civil rights era–because they work.

  • vince

    THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!! To all the people that are talking about boycotting Utah or any other state that has passed a law that discriminates against homosexuals, how will boycotting a state help to advance the gay rights struggle? It doesn’t. Not all Utahns donated money to help pass prop 8, not all Utahns voted for the people who turned down “common Ground”, not all Utahns are mormons, and not even all mormons agree with their religion’s stance on gay marriage. I know this because I used to be a mormon when I was a kid, my parents still are (even though they completely support us), and I live with my same sex partner in Provo, Utah which is the mormon mecca of the world. We are in trememndous need of help as our most basic rights are being openly and blatantly ignored. In Utah anyone can fire you solely on the basis that you are gay, there is literally NOTHING you can do about it. There have been instances where this has been done openly, regardless of media atraction because bigots here know that people in here just don’t care.

    We in Utah have been fighting REALLY hard against discrimination to be heard, and specially now we need as much help from everywhere to be able to make change happen. Turning your back on our state is leaving one of the places that needs the most help.

    Yes I understand that you all are mad because Prop 8 passed, yes I understand that you want to retaliate, but don’t retaliate against a whole state which includes some of the most discrimnated against homosexuals in this country. Be smarter than that. To really expose the CRIME that was widely funded by mormon church members and aproved by california voters, things like the “common ground initiative” need to be done to expose just how far these bigots can lie.

  • vince


    AMEN to that. Now we just need to figure out what organizations and companies (of course including the LDS church and it’s affiliates) donated money or helped make prop 8 pass, boycott them AND let them know that you are doing so and why. just couse their sales go down doesn’t mean that they will know immediately why.

  • Alan in SLC

    Let me first start by saying that Utah isn’t an easy state to understand. Its even harder to claim you live there for that matter. I’ve lived here all my life. I grew up LDS, but since have realized where my spirit lies and its not with the church, but I respect those who choose to follow their teachings, after all its their choice and I’m for allowing free will. I understand the devotion of their members and approve of their humanitarian efforts, yet STRONGLY disagree with their involvement in ours or any government issues such as the Prop. 8 bullshit. Our government is filled with both representatives fighting for the people of the state (LGBT included) and representatives who obviously are influenced by the LDS church. The gay community IS one of the largest in the country. We regularly have 30-40 thousand attend the pride celebrations year after year and they continue to grow in numbers. We are a state of diversity, though you wouldn’t know this unless you visit here. SLC is a hub for the arts and thus has a huge gay influence (Haven’t you noticed American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance has been here quite a lot lately). Its a beautiful state for anyone to visit with many things to do. We have deserts, mountains, lakes, canyons, and the most National Parks in any state. Yes our nightlife has stupid laws stating you have to be a “member”, but overall we have what any major city has for night time entertainment.

    I know I am rambling on and on. I never claimed to be an english major, but my point is this…

    You can’t boycott an entire state because of what a church or their member did to take away rights. (well, you actually can but it makes absolutely NO sense to do it.) No matter where you spend your money, some of it is bound to turn up into the hands of someone mormon. Whether you live in Utah, Florida, California, or wherever you choose. Eventually your money will benefit the Mormon church in some manner through some means.

    The best way for us to make a statement to the church is to continue to show them that our families are not any different from straight families. We need to keep showing them that we have just as much success with raising children, with being faithful with our partners, with living normal HEALTHY lives. The church here has changed views on many subjects over its fairly short existence (when compared with other churches) and it will eventually come to the realization that they are wrong here too. They were wrong with womens rights, inter-racial marraige, blacks in the church, etc… All of which they have changed their views on and now allow. Its only time til they do that here.

    The Mormon church isn’t the only church to blame. There has been involvement from basically every religion…especially those who are Christians. Its sad that Christians have shown to be the biggest haters around, especially towards LGBT rights, yet they claim to live their lives as Jesus says to live. Jesus was never a hater, so anyone who is a hater isn’t Christian…no matter the church they attend!

    I feel that we need to keep our voices heard, our goals in mind and never back down for anyone until we get what we and ALL people deserve. If we keep getting side-tracked by trying to stick it where it will hurt, we’ll never get anywhere but where we already are. We just end up looking worse than the churches who have hurt us. We need to focus. We need to come together and move forward. We don’t need to be wasting our time, our money, our efforts and support on unnecessary hateful actions. It only hurts good people who are in need of your support. Lets focus on showing that as a community we are really no different than anyone else and are capable of spreading goodness throughout.

  • Jeremy Jensen

    “We do not spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars dehumanizing Mormons”

    Maybe not “millions of dollars” but, from what I can tell, many in the gay community do spend “thousands of hours” dehumanizing Mormons. I’ve seen a lot of dehumanizing Mormons in this thread alone.

  • Jeremy Jensen

    “We do not spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars dehumanizing Mormons, or working to take their rights away from them. We do not try to teach as many people as possible that they are sick, perverted, or a threat to other’s families (although they are). And, we sure as hell don’t commit such evil acts “in the name of Christ” like these hateful, hurtful scumbags do, every single day.”

    It’s deliciously ironic that you claim that gays do not dehumanize Mormons, and then you proceed to, um, dehumanize Mormons. You’re as much of a hater as the people you decry.

  • Sam

    @Jeremy Jensen:

    Uh Jeremy, I think you are missing one key thing here. We wouldn’t have this problem with Mormons if they would have just minded their own business and let us have our rights. Furthermore, if gay marriage ban didn’t pass in California, we wouldn’t feel this way towards Mormons other than try to figure out why they spent so much money on a measure that didn’t pass and that time has always been on our side all along. Please do your research.

  • Mark SLC

    Fine, but realize that by repeatedly building headlines by boycotting major events and corporations in Utah, you are deepening the divide here and making it much more difficult to accomplish much.

    When gay people are perceived to be burning books of Mormon, vandalizing churches, and boycotting the Sundance Film Festival, etc. (which is a gay-friendly venue anyhow), you are just stirring up a big mess. What good comes of it? Who are you convincing, exactly?

    Yes, Utah is a hornet’s nest. Please don’t sic the hornets after us while you sit in righteous indignation in Massachussets.

    Please, boycott Cinemark, Marriott and any other business directly linked to Yes on 8 directly. But boycotting an entire state is ludicrous-and destructive to gays in Utah. We are making progress here in Utah. Please don’t throw it away.

  • RickC

    Uh Sam, did you read what you just wrote?
    “We wouldn’t have this problem with Mormons if they would have just minded their own business.” Just change Mormons to gays and you will see how hypocritical the ‘answer hate with hate’ argument is, coming from a gay proponent.

    Neither the church nor the state is monolithic. Nor is the gay community. Making blanket proclamations about any of the above is ridiculous.

    And props to TeleUte83 for highlighting that California voters, not Utahns, passed prop 8. Perhaps the all the boycotters from CA should analyze the vote and work on the groups in their own state that voted for prop 8, to change their minds. But if you’d rather look beyond your own house to place blame, I too will be happy to have fewer people skiing in the powder.

  • Wolf

    Okay. Time to chime in. Over 80 percent of lawmakers in UT are faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Laste week Mormon church elders met with state legislative leaders in a closed door luncheon as they do ona regular basis.

    Church and legislative leaders try to shellack their closed-door meetings with a veneer of objectivity. LDS spokesmen say legislators request the meeting each year. And fter consulting the oracles, the Senate president and House speaker report back on LDS Church leaders might be willing to do But why?

    The church hires a lobbyist like every other special interest. Nowhere else in the country do lawmakers consult with one denomination in this way — not Boston, not Birmingham. It’s one thing for lawmakers to consult privately with individual Mormon bishops and stake presidents. It’s another to make an annual political event out of it.

    As long as the Mormom Chuch holds a strangle on the legislature. Its a forgone conculsion that the state will NOT pass any Pro-Gay laws.

    The Common Ground Bills which are really the most smallest of gay human rights bill will not be passed. The LDS said after No on 8 passed and the spotlight was turned on them that they wouldn’t object (publically( and nor did they support it (publically) But what went on in a close door meeting with State Legislatures is beyond everyones control.

    As long as the LDS controls the legislature UT is and will be a Gay Hate Hate State. And Gays and lesbians will not be equal. And you know whats okay. It is okay to NOT TO LIKE THEM. And it is okay to Hate them and stay away from State. The “turning the other cheek” and “we are better than them” bullshit doesn’t and won;t work while they are in control. In the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement when we were angry AND WE BOYCOTTED, AND WE PROSTESTED. Our movement moved further and faster. Its only been in th past 20 years since we’ve adopted the “we are so much better” attitude that we have stalled and gone nowhere.

    Personally I don’t care if I has the second biggest Pride Parade. Thats has nothing to do with the way the State is run and how the LDS controls it. If you want to stay there go ahead. If you want to enable the Mormon Chuch because 10 percent of every dollar that a Mormon makes automatically goes to the Church (There is no choice) go ahead. I’m not going to. ALL MORMON Businesses ahould be BOYCOTTED and well as Major Events in UTAH. They need to be hot where it hurts. In their pockets. Its the only way to make a point.

  • ousslander

    Now someone please explain to me why we aren’t also boycotting California? Yes the mormons threw in some money but it was the people of California that voted for prop 8.
    Is this because that we want the easy target?

  • Wolf


    Ummm because without the help of the Mormon Church of Utah YES on 8 probably wouldn;t have passed thats why.

  • Mary


    Ummmm, the margin was 4 percentage points. What that tells me is that every single effort in support of the proposition was critical. Without the Mormon effort, or any one of the other efforts, the proposition would have had less support and the margin may have gone the other way. So yes, the Mormon effort helped pass the proposition, IN THE SAME PROPORTION AS ANY OF THE OTHER EFFORTS. Why is this so difficult for gays to understand? Because they simply can’t accept the fact that a constitutional process was followed and the people spoke clearly. Gays are in denial that at least 52% of the CA populus doesn’t agree with them and they turn their anger towards UTAH? Put your own house in order before you go blaming aliens.

  • TeleUte83

    @Wolf: Could you cite some of what you just posted? Your description of paying tithing suggests that it’s a state income tax. It is not automatic and it is only required if you want to remain in good standing with the Church. As much as we joke about it here, there aren’t isn’t an LDS police that kidnaps people off the streets in white vans and eavesdrops a la Fahrenheit 411.

    Utah is an awesome place and most Mormons are awesome people. But, many have an opinion of homosexuality , influenced by scripture and their leadership, that has made the jump to politics and ultimately deprived me of human rights I feel are so basic to leading a fulfilling life.

    Rather than hate the LDS Church and its members (and umm, the other millions of non-LDS citizens in this country who hold similar views), it’s our DUTY to change their perceptions. Not through boycotts, in a feeble attempt to show our “economic power,” but through well-intentioned protests, and most importantly, showing our friends, family, and neighbors that most of us defy their stereotypes of what it means to be LGBT.

    Your impressions, Wolf, of the members of the LDS church are as misplaced as their stereotypes of who you are, just because you may or may not be LGBT.

    You donated to No on 8, right? And asked all of your friends to do so as well? If not, you should’ve used your words then when it mattered, rather than now, when it doesn’t.

  • Sam


    Uh RickC, Please look at my entire sentence, not just part of it.

    “We wouldn’t have this problem with Mormons if they would have just minded their own business and let us have our rights.”

    If I turned my sentence around, swapping the word “Mormons” with “Gays,” people would look at my post funny and wonder “What the hell is this guy thinking? Straight Mormons are already first-class citizens.”

    The gay community is being treated as second-class citizens because we don’t have all our rights in this country so that is what we are fighting for. The Mormons who believe that being gay is wrong are fighting against that. Not just in Utah, but in every state. I never mentioned anything about hate or hypocrisy towards anyone, neither in my last post nor in this post, so please don’t assume so. I’m just stating the facts.

    Also, I like to point out to everyone that I have no intention of boycotting Utah in general. I’m just boycotting businesses that have connections to the Mormon church to the best of my ability. I’m mad at the church, not at the state.

  • Colin

    To blame Utah for the actions of the Mormon church is simply ridiculous and exhibits an uneducated philosophy. Perhaps you “Californians” should check the amount of LDS people living in your state, then maybe you could move here to SLC and boycott the place where that hateful bill was passed. Our GLTB community are far more supported than in most states. This is just another example of a few folks getting others worked up over an issue that they have very little knowledge or understanding of.

  • Preston

    @Mary: Yes, Mary, I’ll “get over myself” when you simply allow me to marry a man of my choosing. It doesn’t hurt your marriage; you never have to meet us. It doesn’t hurt your “traditional definition of marriage” any more than knowing that polygamous marriages are legal in some Muslim countries does. But I can know that, in the legal and social sense, my relationship is validated in the same way that a heterosexual relationship is. Plus, as any good economics professor will tell you, about 40% of marriages end up paying more in taxes than before. So, “lettin’ the gays get hitched” would allow more money to be paid into the system, which means better public services for you and your children. So really, where’s the problem?

  • Sandra O'Connor

    Does anyone remember the 1987-92 boycott of Arizona for refusing to make MLK day a holiday? It worked.

  • Mary


    My “Get over yourselves” post was in response to the bitter, angry and hateful tactics used by gays and gay supporters. I’m not talking about taxes or polygamy. I’m simply calling out the hypocrisy of gays calling me hateful when they themselves have clearly displayed the ugly emotions in their posts and demonstrations.

    It’s one thing to vote for a proposition put forward in a purely democratic process and express one’s opinion. It’s quite another to be targeted, boycotted, vandalized and intimidated for expressing that opinion. Especially when someone else who voted the same way I did is not targeted. I’m now told that by expressing that opinion I am a deep-seated hater of gay people. Please get this straight in your head… I do not, nor have I ever hated gay people because I believe it is wrong to do so. I voted my conscience when the question was put before me. But this prop 8 thing has truly tested my ability to match my thoughts and feelings with my beliefs.

  • Stenar


    I don’t think you can say that because a boycott of Arizona was proposed and then they adopted MLK day that the boycott was the reason they adopted MLK day. The reason AZ adopted MLK day was more likely because most every other state in the nation had done so. The Utah legislature also refused to create a MLK day for many years, until every other state had done so and then they finally relented with no pressure from a boycott, but because every other state had done it.

  • Stenar

    I think a boycott of Utah is short-sighted, but the focus should be exclusively on Mormons and they should be vilified. I was very disappointed when Tom Hanks became a total pussy and apologized for calling Mormons un-American. He was right the first time before he apologized.

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