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Decriminalizing Labels 

The latest from the Legislature on polygamy. A lobbyist on the Hill makes an extremely foolish comparison. Plus, Utah holds parent rights dear, but still wants to jump in.

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Decriminalizing Labels
It came down to labels. But let's be clear—it was anything but. The Utah Senate merrily and unanimously approved decriminalizing polygamy because, you know, they suffer so. That's because they have to hide from the law, and this "subculture," according to The Salt Lake Tribune, enables the predators among them. Polygamy is a complicated and emotional issue, which in Utah has unique religious implications. Polygamy's also prohibited in the Utah Constitution, though a federal judge in 2013 said some parts of that law were unconstitutional. The Senate apparently thinks this is a human rights issue and that polygamist communities are in pain. If the Washakie Renewable Energy case is any indication, it's the pain of a lifestyle that includes "ritzy homes, expensive cars and Turkish industries," the Trib writes. The real pain comes from underage marriages, a focus on procreation and disposable boys.

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Foolish Comparisons
Back to the labels. Into the Democratic Caucus room walks Angela Kelly, the director of the Sound Choices Coalition. Right? Kelly comes with a camera crew, right? She asks the audience how they label themselves and starts giving out nametags and asking people how they label themselves. "We're a lot of things, because we're humans, right?" she says. No one is sure what her point is, though she keeps saying, "right?" for affirmation. Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, says she's a wife, mom, aunt, family member, legislator and community activist, after which Kelly writes "slave" and passes it to Hollins, the lone black legislator. There was righteous shock at the comparison. Only Fox 13 News was really able to decipher what was going on. But if this was about polygamy, it devolved into racism quickly and whatever message Kelly had was lost, as she would say, right?

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Utah's Nanny State
Whoa, here comes the nanny state. Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, won his second round chance to ban teens from using tanning beds. Yes, it's a health issue. The Trib reports that Utah has the highest melanoma rates and if you tan before you're 35, you have a 75% increased risk. But wait. This is the state that holds parental rights dear. Here, we derisively call public schools "guv schools" and resist calls to vaccinate our children—because it's a parent's right. We're the third worst in the nation, according to Health Testing Centers and it's anyone's guess if parents would vaccinate against Coronavirus, if they could. Who decides if their teens can get contraceptives? By law, the parents. It's not parents vs. the law; it's about health. So get over it.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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