citylog
The E-
Edition:
CW
page
by page

Tumblr.jpg Google_Plus.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Home / Articles / · Archive / News & Columns /  Mullen | The Big Mormon Call Out: If it works in Eagle Mountain, it should work anywhere.
News & Columns

Mullen | The Big Mormon Call Out: If it works in Eagle Mountain, it should work anywhere.

By Holly Mullen
Posted // November 12,2008 - Allen and Jade Sarver-Eskelsen have found a bit of peace in a place you wouldn’t figure for a gay-friendly city in Utah: Eagle Mountain, Utah County. n

Census figures from 2007 reveal that 89.9 percent of Eagle Mountain residents define themselves as “religious.” Of those, 88.1 percent identify as LDS—members of the same church that urged congregations to actively work against same-sex marriage in California by donating to the pro-Proposition 8 campaign. That support amounted to $22 million in contributions from Mormons—the largest faith-based chunk of money to funnel into the anti-gay marriage fight.

n

I bumped into Allen and Jade (literally—I stepped on the back of Allen’s shoe and flattened it) during the Nov. 7 anti-Proposition 8 protest outside LDS Church headquarters. Estimates on the crowd size varied wildly. A safe guess would be 3,000.

n

Whatever. It amounted to a whole mess o’ marchers. Allen and Jade were packed shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest, demonstrating against the LDS Church’s tax-exempt involvement in fighting same-sex marriage. With another round of nationwide gay-rights demonstrations planned for the coming weekend, it’s growing clearer by the day that the battle over same-sex marriage will be the early 21st century’s predominant civil-rights issue.

n

Shuffling along, I had plenty of time to talk with the marchers. No one I met could be characterized as uncivil, though everyone I talked to was damned angry. And why shouldn’t they be? Scores of my own gay and lesbian friends, co-workers and relatives have grown tired of being marginalized in this society. The mass of bodies at the downtown protest was simply a bigger and more public version of that rage.

n

Back to Allen and Jade for a minute. Not long ago, Allen—at the tender age of 31— suffered a heart attack. He was hospitalized and underwent a balloon angioplasty to open his clogged arteries. But Jade, his partner of 13 years, was not allowed to visit him in intensive care. That privilege is reserved for legal spouses.

n

Life isn’t nearly so uptight and rigid, though, in their Eagle Mountain neighborhood, the two men told me. “We bought a nice house for not much money,” said Jade, who works for a major Wall Street investment firm. I asked them how welcoming their largely white, Mormon and family-centered subdivision had been. “Great,” Jade said. Said Allen, who works as a plumber at a Lehi-based business: “The neighbors are always bringing us dinners, little homemade gifts at Christmas, things like that.”

n

Isn’t that just the way? While the official LDS Church has endorsed an outdated and active agenda to fight gay rights, church members who actually reach out to a gay person, or couple, are finding middle ground. The only way that bigotry ever truly melts from people’s hearts is when they deny stereotypes and reach out to a real, live member of a minority group. That may be the principle at work on at least one street in Eagle Mountain.

n

Earlier this week, Equality Utah called out the LDS hierarchy on its sudden mixed messages regarding gay rights. The gay-, lesbian- and transgender-interest group wants church leaders to act on recent official statements that while the church opposes gay marriage, it does not oppose civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Spokesmen in the past couple of weeks have also stepped up statements that the church does not oppose equal rights for same-sex couples in hospitalization, medical care, housing, employment and probate matters.

n

State Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City—two members of the Utah Legislature’s openly gay troika (Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake City is the third) were at Equality Utah’s press conference announcing the push to gain official LDS support on five gay-rights bills slated for the 2008 Legislature. Executive director Mike Thompson threw down the gauntlet: “Will the [LDS Church] First Presidency draft a letter to Utah Latter-day Saints in support of rights and protections for gay couples?” Thompson said he hopes church leaders would ask such a letter be read statewide to congregations, same as the pro-Prop 8 letter was circulated last summer.

n

It’s crafty, all right, for Utah’s gay community to keep steady pressure on the largest and most politically powerful force in the state. LDS leaders have a long and storied reputation for stirring the political pot in Utah and across the country—the concerted efforts to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s and liquor by the drink a decade earlier are two earlier examples. I’ve lived in this state for 36 of my 51 years. This is the first open challenge to Mormon leaders on a social justice issue I can recall since the debate over the MX missile in 1981.

n

A steady and spirited fight for equality is a bit like a gay couple living on a predominantly Mormon street in Eagle Mountain, I guess. The act requires living out loud, being honest and keeping the pressure on for equality. Change will come. Believe it.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post a comment
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // November 19,2008 at 03:39 No, when Sharpton makes a comment, it’s a throw-away because he’s a street hustler parading under the flag of equal rights. He and Jesse Jackson have forced corporations to shell out big bucks in donations and job creation for blacks as a kind of reparation for something that coproration has done that deserved a march or a picket attack.nnI won’t go into his penchant for showing up to march on a 7-11 because someone offered someone else a cup of black coffee rather than African-American coffee. nnAnd, yes, I agree totally that Mitt is a plastic poser. I read this morning that he wasted $113 MILLION of his own money to be such a distant loser.nnNo wonder other countries hate us.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // November 15,2008 at 03:41 As a nation, we have been saddened at other countries that have votes and then have riots. We have always had people be nice, and then go back to work. Obama won. I didn’t vote for him, Neither did much of the country and the majority of many states. We didn’t protest that Obama won. I will write him with ideas, pray for him, and hope he doesn’t make things worse.nnIt this case, there was a vote, and the side that worked the hardest won. Now, instead of the traditional nice congratulations, we have anger, violence and protests from the losing side. This is not what America does.nnOn top of it, the target is the Mormons, who have been persecuted over the years, and are often still targets by some Christ based religions.nnNot only should the GLBT groups be ashamed at those that have been violent, but also should be ashamed at the protests. They don’t bring unity and they don’t help their cause. A great example was the large protests across the country from those wanting illegal immigration fixed by giving in to demands. Those protests backfired, and I expect these Prop 8 protests will also.nnWhen the great majority of California several years ago passed a similar law, and the Courts decided to reject the will of thenmajority, did the losers protest in the streets? No, that would have been childish.nnGet the point?

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // November 14,2008 at 10:53 Dear Tiny,nnMy, my, my! nnHarry Reid is a Mormon, too! Maybe he will run for President next time. He is almost as non-conservative (for those who object to the L-word) as President-elect Obama. nnWere you in the room when Senator McCain explained why he did not select Gov Romney as his running mate? I must have missed the public announcement. I just figured that he thought Gov Palin had nicer hair, and might be a better hunting companion! nnI suppose that in 2012, we will still remember that Huckabee is a former Baptist preacher, too!

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // November 14,2008 at 10:37 Dear Reader,nnI’ll bet you got an A in your government class in middle school, right?! nnIf constitutionality was so cut and dried, there would be no reason for people to argue about what is, and what is not constitutional. Even the Supreme Court disagrees on these issues. None of us in this forum gets to decide what is constitutional or otherwise lawful. We only get to opine and vote. As for now, gay marriage is illegal in California and most other states. And in this country, laws are constitutional until declared otherwise by the Supreme Court, even if you disagree with them. So state laws which allow gay marriage are constitutional, and state laws which forbid it are constitutional. If you don’t like the laws in your state, you can either relocate, or work to change the laws where you live. But protesting about the Mormon church’s position isn’t going to change anything. Their individual and collective behavior is entirely legal, and that is not likely to change just because you don’t like it.nnRespectfully yours

 

 
 
Close
Close
Close