Yeas and Nays | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Yeas and Nays 

We've seen good and bad news for LGBTQ people this week. It's time to address distracted driving. Plus, know your history on the abortion debate.

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LGBTQ Yeas and Nays
There's lots of LGBTQ news this week. The saddest and most shocking is that of David Matheson, a former conversion therapist who has now come out as gay, KSL Channel 5 revealed. Oh yeah, and he apologized, like pouring salt in a wound. He was married to a woman for 34 years, has three kids and who knows how many people he put through the trauma of his program. Let's not forget that he's an active Mormon, for what it's worth. Equality Utah is trying to persuade legislators to ban conversion therapy for those in that community. Meanwhile, the Legislature is considering—again—hate crimes legislation, and this time the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it's not opposed to it even if it includes LGBTQ people. So that's the good news until you realize that at least one legislator wants to prevent people from changing the gender on their birth certificates.

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The Real Life-Saver
On to the issue of death by car and the latest Deseret News story. You might recall that last year, Utah unveiled its .05 percent BAC law, with many asserting that drunk driving deaths would plummet. The good news is that auto deaths have indeed gone down, but it's anything but clear that the lower limit was the reason. Speeding and texting are way up there. In the mid-1970s, alcohol was a factor in more than 60 percent of traffic fatalities and two-thirds of traffic deaths for 16- to 20-year-olds, according to the National Institute of Health. Alcohol-related deaths have now been cut in half, and are a factor in only 37 percent of deaths for that demographic. Drinking and driving don't mix, and Uber and Lyft are making a difference. Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, is proposing a real life-saver with her distracted driving bill. Passing this should not even be a question.

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Getting Comfortable
At the risk of hearing cries of "Oh, but the babies," Utahns need to get comfortable with abortion—and its history. Provocative as it might be, RadioWest took the risk in showing pregnancy as both a social and political issue. For instance, Theodore Roosevelt encouraged white women reproduce. Abortion laws were also fashioned to clean up vice as witnessed in courtrooms with all-male juries where women were asked how many men they'd slept with. Now, a West Jordan lawmaker wants to make abortion illegal after 15 weeks into a pregnancy, even though it might be unconstitutional. And U.S. Sen. Mike Lee wants to revive the "Mexico City Policy," prohibiting family planning aid to any country that provides or promotes abortion. Ostensibly, that would include the United States.

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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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