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Comments about ‘My view: Non-discrimination laws have a problem’

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Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Ranch
Here, UT

"Being fair to all is a hallmark of Utahns."

-- Really? Truly? Is that why Utah voted to prevent loving couples who don't meet the "Gold Standard" from marrying their SO?

"... in favor of special rights for a few."

-- Heterosexual is also a sexual orientation. Hence No "special rights for a few". In fact, EVERY human being has a "sexual orientation". Thus, ALL would be protected: not JUST the heterosexual.

"These laws prioritize sexual rights over rights of conscience."

-- When you discriminate against someone you have NO conscience.

"The whole purpose of any non-discrimination law is to protect innocent people against discrimination, not to violate the rights of others."

-- The whole purpose of this screed of an opinion piece is to "violate the rights of others".

"It gives special rights to some people at the expense of other people. "

-- A blatant lie. Again, ALL people would be covered.

"Your kind not served here." What if the "your kind" were actually YOUR kind, Paul?

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

My first thought: The LDS church supported orientation-based anti-discrimination legislation when it was proposed in Utah recently. If even the church could support it, what makes you think you need to oppose it?

And as for that transgender-in-the-locker-room case that so horrified you, as the article clearly states, the problem was solved very simply with the installation of privacy curtains -- which, actually, the locker room should have already had in the first place. The true problem here was not the transgender student, but the poor design of the room.

Despite your claims to the contrary, nobody wants "special" rights -- only EQUAL rights. And, no, respecting equal rights for the LGBT population is no more a challenge to conscience than respecting the rights of other races or religions -- something that has been legislated for decades, and a principle that is firmly ensconced in the US Constitution.

It frequently amazes me how people could ignore the far-ranging consequences of adding a "conscience" exception to anti-discrimination laws. Can you honestly not see how that would end up gutting the laws entirely? How can anyone possibly be that blind?

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I wish I could do gymnastics like Paul Mero. I would never wake up with a sore back again if I could twist and turn into a pretzel like that.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"Being fair to all is a hallmark of Utahns."

Hogwash. Utah's Amendment 3 is proof of the opposite.

"Nineteen states now have laws offering same-sex marriage or civil unions...These laws prioritize sexual rights over rights of conscience."

More hogwash. Those laws _genuinely_ express a state's commitment to equal constitutional protections to _all_ its citizens.

"The fact is that the simple inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in Utah law challenges freedom of conscience and religion, and could subordinate those freedoms to sexual rights."

Wrong on so many levels. What's being challenged is your presumption that the state exists to enforce your personal religious beliefs on others - even when your religious beliefs clearly violate the Equal Protection language of the US Constitution.

"A statewide non-discrimination law on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” would inherently violate the rights of other people."

Nonsense. This assertion has been tested in many courts, and every single time it has been examined objectively it disintegrates. Your rights are not jeopardized by marriage equality. You are not harmed in the slightest way.

You have no right to expect the state to enforce your bigotry.

1covey
Salt Lake City, UT

There are limits to "freedom of speech". Libel laws do exist for good reasons; you cannot yell "Fire!" in a theater just for the fun of it. Other rights are also abridged for reasons of safety, health and conflicting rights. But, those who advocate so-called sexual rights seem to have a problem with this.

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

It does seem, with all that has been going on, as if "sex" has become the MOST important civil right. And in attempting to legislate/judge this issue it may end up being a "more equal" result. My fear is not so much in where we have come, but what battles the liberals will embark upon after this issue is resolved. I don't doubt that the exemptions given to any religious institutions will come under a full attack, sooner or later. The Hobby Lobby case in a good example of just the beginning of this. And to open another issue, since the Supreme Court will ultimately decide many of these cases, it matters more than ever who is sitting there. Democrats or Republicans. Let's face it, the Supreme Court is as much of a political appointment as any Cabinate post the President gets. So, these next two national elections are going to say the most about where we are going as a country.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

Nothing in the First Amendment says religion must be protected from discrimination by private businesses. When those who oppose anti-discrimination laws based on gender or sexual orientation also push to remove anti-discrimination laws based on religion, then they will have a leg to stand on.

When you can be fired or kicked out of housing because of your religion or the number of kids you have, when you can be told not to use a locker room or to use a different locker room because of the way you dress, then I will believe that you oppose anti-discrimination laws because they infringe on rights of conscience.

But as long as you enjoy the protections of anti-discrimination laws, denying that same protection to others is hypocritical.

Everyone has a race, religion, ability, age, national origin, military service background - and sexual orientation. Either oppose them all or support them all. Stop this hypocritical hair splitting.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The arguments employed in this piece are exactly the same as the arguments used against the Civil Rights Act and against inter-racial marriage.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

As a Mormon and someone who supports marriage equality as well as non-discrimination laws, it violates my conscience to know I may attend sacrament with people like Mr. Mero.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The problem with "Non-discrimination laws" is.. they are discriminatory.

If you are not in one of the protected groups... you don't get the same protections.

In America we are guaranteed the right to "Equal Protection" under the law. That means we don't have special groups that get EXTRA protections.

---

I know it would be nice if these groups didn't NEED extra protection. But I think the solution is to work on that (work on understanding and getting along so they don't need extra protection) rather than legislating that some groups have EXTRA rights, and EXTRA protections, that the rest of the population don't have.

Just my opinion.

EDM
Castle Valley, Utah

In other words, we should not have anti-discrimination laws because that would prevent people from discriminating in the name of faith or conscience.

Ranch
Here, UT

@happy2bhere;

1) What has "sex" got to do with equal marriage rights? If you only married for sex, then you shouldn't have married in the first place because your marriage isn't going to last; especially if the "sex" goes away or slows down.

2) "Equal" doesn't mean "more equal". Heterosexual is ALSO a sexual orientation.

3) Hobby Lobby is NOT a person, it is a corporation and as such has no "religion" to violate.

4) Religions already enjoy the First Amendment and won't be forced to do what they don't want to do.

5) We, as a country, are moving in the direction of more equality, and away from superstitous nonsense. Personally, I find this to be a good thing.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@2 bits --

"If you are not in one of the protected groups... you don't get the same protections."

That's baloney.

EVERYONE is a member of those protected groups.

Race is protected: you have a race. Nobody is allowed to discriminate against you because of your race.
Gender is protected: you have a gender. Nobody is allowed to discriminate against you because of your gender.
Age is protected: you have an age. Nobody is allowed to discriminate against you because of your age.
Religion is protected: you have a religion. Nobody is allowed to discriminate against you because of your religion.

And so on.

And yes, you have an orientation too.

EVERYONE is protected by anti-discrimination laws.

Minorities want EQUAL rights -- not special rights.

isrred
South Jordan, UT

There is no "special right" created. Heterosexual persons and those with traditional gender would be protected just as equally. The bill prohibits based on ORIENTATION or Gender IDENTITY, not solely on if someone is gay or trans. Gay and straight are protected equally.

The fact that you view this is as a "Special right" because a heterosexual person would never need such protections, just goes to show that you are incorrect about these laws not being needed.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

Mero: "Existing protections for race, national origin and disabilities make perfect sense because they don't violate the rights of other people."

Mr. Mero might try spending some time sampling white supremacist websites, where racism and nationalism are enshrouded in religious justification. Likewise, many people devoutly believe that that a woman's role is ordained by God as mother and homemaker and that seeking employment outside the home is against God's will, so they don't hire women. That we find these minority views repugnant and backwards is immaterial. Antidiscrimination laws based on sex, race, and national origin DO infringe on the conscience rights of some people.

A hypothetical: A Saudi immigrant owns a taxi company. He rejects female job applicants because his faith-informed cultural tradition prohibits women from driving and being unchaperoned in public. Does Mr. Mero side with the conscience rights of the company owner to make hiring decisions consistent with his religious beliefs or with the right of the female job applicants to be free of discrimination not related to their ability to do the job? If he sides with the women, how is this different than the "LGBT rights versus conscience rights" case?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Ranch" but you are wrong. Utah did not vote to "prevent loving couples who don't meet the "Gold Standard" from marrying their SO". They voted on a Utah constitutional ammenement that defines the legal definition of marriage.

Gays are still free to find a willing minister or official to perform a marriage ceremony. They can do so without any fear of being arrested.

Ranch
Here, UT

RedShirt says:
"To "Ranch" but you are wrong. Utah did not vote to "prevent loving couples who don't meet the "Gold Standard" from marrying their SO". They voted on a Utah constitutional ammenement that defines the legal definition of marriage."

---

Which is effectively the same as voting to prevent loving couples from marrying the person of their choice, right? Restricting legal marriage to one set directly denies the right to legal marriage to the other set. Would there be any other reason to define marriage such as they did other than to restrict it to those who don't meet the definition's qualifications? Nope.

A marriage without legal recognition is not the same as a marriage with legal recognition; and you know that.

QuercusQate
Wasatch Co., UT

@RedShirt

You are wrong, RedShirt. Here's the text of Utah's Amendment 3:

1) Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.
2) No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.

As you can see, there is a second clause in Amendment 3 which goes considerably further than establishing a definition of marriage. It spitefully sweeps the back of its hand across the faces of all gays and lesbians, specifically denying them ANY privileges and responsibilities of marriage.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

RedShirt: "Gays are still free to find a willing minister or official to perform a marriage ceremony. They can do so without any fear of being arrested."

But what good is that? A marriage that is not legally recognized may provide some emotional or spiritual comfort to the couple, but does it get the couple any of the legal benefits of marriage? Can one spouse be added to the other's health insurance plan? Can they file joint tax returns? Do they have hospital visitation rights? Or survivor benefits? Sure, the couple can go through a wedding ceremony, but if they are not legally married it's a sham exercise.

In your example, a gay couple won't be arrested simply for saying "I do" in front of a preacher, but don't they risk arrest for tax fraud if they act like a legally married couple and file a joint tax return?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Ranch" no, nobody is preventing them from being married to the person of their choice. The best example of this is the polygamists. They may have one marriage recognized by the state, but every time they add a wife they go through a marriage ceremony and are married to the person of their choice.

In their minds, are the 2nd and 3rd wives any less married than the first?

Don't call it "legal" marriage. Call it for what it is. Say it with me. The gays don't want marriage, they want the legal benefits of marriage.

Now, if you want to redefine marriage to be any 2 people, are you prepared to support those that want to redefine marriage so that polygamy is legally recognized?

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