Utah lawmakers put women and children last by thumbing their noses at federal law. | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

Utah lawmakers put women and children last by thumbing their noses at federal law. 

Small Lake City

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"Women and children first!" is something you hear in movies when a boat is sinking. It's certainly a cry you'll hear from the Utah Legislature on our particular sinking ship. But instead of protecting them and putting them in life rafts, they're throwing women and children overboard to die in the frigid waters.

That's not hyperbole—metaphorical, yes, but not hyperbolic.

It's an election year, so the GOP will naturally tack so hard to the right that they'd make Vladimir Putin blush. But this year, LGBTQ+ folks are a political football they really, really want to kick. The existence of LGBTQ+ folks is inherently not political, but the GOP insists on politicizing them because they see it as a great wedge issue.

What is the latest call to throw women (especially trans women) and kids overboard? It comes as a result of the Biden administration's additions to Title IX, which creates protections for the education system to be free of discrimination on the basis of sex. Well, the Biden administration decided (rightly) that it includes gender identity and sexual orientation. Unfortunately for the state Legislature, that fouls up all of the bigoted laws they've been passing—like those that mean my trans 9-year-old is forced to use a bathroom they feel uncomfortable in.

Why did they do it? Who knows—there's no logical reason.

Utah lawmakers recently passed a law to undo the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution, the document they pretend to worship. They are instructing schools to follow Utah's laws instead of Title IX, as if teachers signed up to oppress kids instead of protecting and teaching them. It's going to cost the state a lot of money—they're going to get sued into oblivion, but it also risks federal funding for public schools. It's not worth the risk but, frankly, they're too dumb to realize it.

I apologize for being so salty on this issue. It hits very close to home. I was relieved when the Biden administration took steps to protect kids like mine, and it's depressing to see the Legislature work to undo that progress and protection for something as cynical as winning votes from bigots. But we're in Utah. Every day it seems there are more and more of them coming out of the woodwork and if you want to win in Utah, you need to be cruel.

To end, I'll quote one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., whose wisdom the Legislature will never know because they keep banning his books. If there's one rule, it's "God damn it, you've got to be kind!"

Now if we could only get the state Legislature on board with that single rule, we wouldn't have to worry about them persecuting queer folks anymore. But with their track record, somehow I doubt they'll suddenly learn to be kind.

I genuinely hope they get the therapy they need. It's not like we don't pay for their insurance. In the meantime, please vote against them.

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