Friday, January 30, 2009

Can I get an AMEN?!

Well, the Southern Baptist Boy from Broken Arrow, OK showed up to the Common Ground march on Saturday, January 24th. When I took the microphone I'd only planned on giving a brief plug about staying engaged during the session. Well, um, uh, some of that good ol' fashion righteous indignation must have come over me. Can I get an AMEN?!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Round 1 ***Ding***

Yesterday the committee room was packed full with standing room only. In each corner of the room we could see blue, green and white “Common Ground” buttons. Thanks to all of you that came and stood for Common Ground! Packing the room was a victory in itself. While the results were disappointing, today we feel a renewed passion. We are pressing forward and will continue to seek common ground. Our focus is now HB 267, the Fair Workplace and Housing Bill, and it is not over yet!

We all heard the Eagle Forum and other groups spreading misinformation about “preserving traditional marriage,” and the “slippery slope.” You can watch their comments below.

[Opposition Testimony videos coming soon!]

Their messages about marriage are simply inaccurate. The Common Ground Initiative is about basic legal protections.

After public comment was over Sen. McCoy gave an inspiring summation of the bill.

The Common Ground Initiative is not about marriage. It is about basic legal protections for gay and transgender Utahns. We will continue to seek common ground, and a fair and just Utah.

There are still plenty of opportunities for you to get involved including a phone bank on Thursday January 29th at 5:30 at the Equality Utah Office. For more opportunities to get involved with the Common Ground Initiative please visit our calendar.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shifting the conversation

The dialog around gay rights in Utah has been distorted since the passage of Amendment 3 in 2004, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. While marriage equality is an important issue for many gay and transgender Utahns, it is not the only issue we’re concerned about.

The fact that a gay person can be fired from his job solely because he is gay has nothing to do with marriage.

The fact that a transgender person can be denied housing for no other reason than she is transgender has nothing to do with marriage.

The fact that a lesbian employee does not receive equal pay and benefits for equal work has nothing to with marriage.

In years past, some legislators resorted to a “voters across Utah settled these issues with Amendment 3” argument. That’s not going to work any more. We’re shifting the conversation.

Yes. Utahns passed Amendment 3 to clearly define marriage but they did not intend to keep their loved ones and neighbors from having basic rights. These basic rights are the focus of our Common Ground Initiative.

Nearly 70 percent of Utahns know someone who is gay or transgender and results from our recent poll indicate the average Utahn actually supports providing them with basic protections. This fact is further substantiated with results from the latest Salt Lake Tribune poll as well as the latest KSL – Deseret News poll.

2009 is our year of opportunity. Our Common Ground Initiative, with its focus on basic rights, has attracted a broad base of support, including members of many faith communities, yes, including active members of the LDS Church.

In this legislative session, we have an opportunity like never before. If we are to seize this moment, if we are to move toward a fair & just Utah, we must each own a portion of the work. Don’t wait. Talk to your legislators, today. Talk to your friends and family members and ask them to do the same, now. There is Common Ground. Let’s each do something to secure it and stand on it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ready, Set, GO!

Equality Utah is thrilled to be launching our new website and we want you to be an active part in its ongoing success. So…we’ve included this blog.

We’ll be providing insights and updates to what’s happening in our quest for a fair & just Utah AND we’ll be posting pictures from all EU events. So, come visit us -- we’d love to hear from you as we go!