Kinda-Sorta Gary | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Kinda-Sorta Gary 

The guv supports a ban on conversion therapy, but only sort of? Then he weighs in on gerrymandering. Plus, a good local read on Hobby Lobby.

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Kinda-Sorta Gary
Well, thanks Gov. Gary Herbert for kinda sorta supporting the push toward banning conversion therapy. In Utah, we grab every crumb like it's a life-saving meal. But please don't get us wrong. We are happy that you want the experts to look at the issue, but we're perplexed that you maybe want to limit the therapy ban to physical distress. Let's talk suicide. The spike in youth suicides is not due to kids being physically abused. It is due to something endemic to this state—peer pressure from the ruling theocracy and a general misunderstanding of biology. Herbert might want to take a page from the Salt Lake County Council, which unanimously passed a resolution urging the state to pass a conversion therapy ban. There's just something a little creepy about how people in power want to control other people's bodies—and their minds.

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Malleable Gary
Meanwhile, this could be one of those "hits" too, if only because Herbert's thinking is a bit malleable—or dare we say muddled—on the subject of gerrymandering. It's interesting how fearful the GOP is of losing even a teeny bit of red power in Utah. You've already seen two Republican women challenge U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, the lone Democrat in the federal delegation. Back to Proposition 4, the redistricting initiative: Herbert made note of that in his June news conference where he talked about "guidelines" for redistricting. The law doesn't employ guidelines, unless, of course, the Legislature changes it. They meddled with two others—Medicaid expansion and medical marijuana. Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said, "We did our best." They did a damned good job undermining the will of the voters.

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Been-There Mike
Best Sunday read from the Deseret News: "How Hobby Lobby changed religious freedom." Yes, the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case was all about the Affordable Care Act and abortion. But what we learned was that it has "weaponized" the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act as it is used "against less powerful Americans instead of an important protection for members of minority faiths." Not unlike the Citizens United ruling, Hobby Lobby gives corporations brains, beliefs and rights. In February, Congress introduced the Do No Harm Act to prevent the use of RFRA to skirt compliance with federal civil rights, labor, child welfare and health care laws. Last year, our Sen. Mike Lee reintroduced the First Amendment Defense Act which the Human Rights Campaign said would legalize state-sanctioned discrimination. That's pretty much what the Hobby Lobby decision has already done.

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