Marriage Mayhem 

Also: Polluted Politics, Herbert Vs. Health Care.

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Marriage Mayhem
People are very, very mad; people are very, very happy. And it’s all about gay marriage, come to Utah by way of what the governor calls judicial activism. Gov. Gary Herbert asked for an immediate stay of U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby’s ruling (which was denied Monday), and the Deseret News ran a front-page editorial calling it “judicial tyranny.” Gay-rights advocates worried openly about the health of Eagle Forum maven Gayle Ruzicka, who vowed same sex-marriage would be legalized only over her dead body. Hundreds of gay couples swarmed clerk’s offices for marriage licenses. And yet, nothing has really changed. You just have to wonder at what constitutes the public’s will. While clean-air and anti-polygamy sentiments are high, they didn’t grab Herbert’s attention like gay marriage did. 

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Polluted Politics
Speaking of clean air, well, it comes infrequently during the winter, and the public is fed up. To what end? Nada. A recent survey by Envision Utah showed that 99 percent of residents were willing to do something to reduce pollution. But what about businesses? Remember, corporations are people, too. The Salt Lake City Council also has been moving ahead with a master transit plan that they have virtually no control over. It involves the Utah Transit Authority stepping up to provide cheaper mass transportation, and more of it. For some reason, Utah officials think voluntary action is OK to clean the air. Meanwhile, people still use wood-burning stoves, the state continues to approve expansion of Wasatch Front refineries and the legislature doesn’t really want to raise the gas tax.

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Herbert Vs. Health Care
While Gov. Gary Herbert is stroking out over the gay-marriage issue, he is taking his sweet time on whether to expand Medicaid in the state. If it’s his strategy to undermine Obamacare, he’s doing a good job. HealthCare.gov has been telling people that they are eligible for Medicaid, and therefore not for an insurance subsidy. Problem is that in Utah, the eligibility levels are very low and disqualify many unless they are children, pregnant or disabled. And they are not eligible for Medicaid. As if the health-care website isn’t frustrating enough, the governor has added to the woes and confusion. Facing the federal deadline, many have been sent to the private marketplace in hopes of finding something affordable, without subsidies. Instead of making a political statement, Herbert should stand up for the people of his state and expand Medicaid.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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