Home / General / Marriage Equality–In Utah?

Marriage Equality–In Utah?


I am not the resident LGM expert on these issues. But I have to think that marriage equality in Utah of all places is basically the tipping point for it spreading across the whole nation very quickly. Maybe I am too optimistic.

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  • MAJeff

    At least one couple has already received a license.


    • Barry Freed


  • MAJeff

    I’m imagining heads in the Salt Lake City headquarters looking something like Martians encountering Indian Love Call.

    • GoDeep

      Its rather hilarious/ironic that within 24hrs of us discussing the fact that UT would be the very last state to have gay marriage, wham! bam! ali-ka-zam! they’ve got gay marriage!! Life is too funny sometimes. My jaw hit the floor so hard when I read this headline I shook the basement lights.

      • Origami Isopod

        The same thought occurred to me.

  • Aab

    It was a federal judge relying on federal constitutional principles. The “Utah” aspect isn’t particularly relevant here.

    • Karate Bearfighter

      As a result, unlike NM yesterday, this could be the marriage equality case that ends up in front of the Supreme Court.

    • Yes, unless this is a sign that bans on gay marriage are about to be swept off the books everywhere.

      • AAB

        That outcome is always going to turn on what the Supreme Court does. All this does in that respect is create a potential test case.

        • But it’s so reckless. It’s going to take time to overturn this. In the meantime, think about how many heterosexual marriages will be ruined!

          • efgoldman

            In the meantime, think about how many heterosexual marriages will be ruined!

            36 years! 36 damned years mrs efgoldman and I have been waiting for our marriage to be destroyed. What’s it gonna’ take, gay marriage in Texas? Bring it on!

        • GoDeep

          I’m no lawyer but I’m intrigued by the fact that the judge didn’t issue an automatic stay pending the outcome of an appeal. I’m no lawyer but having followed these cases for sometime an automatic stay seems to be de rigeur in these cases.

          That may be the trial judge signaling that the state is unlikely to win an appeal, or it may be that he’s trying to rush the case to the appeals court. I’m curious if this struck anyone else & what resident lawyers & others here think abt this.

          • Nate W.

            It appears that the AG’s office didn’t bother to file a preemptive motion for a stay. Of course, they’ve had some other things on their minds lately…

            • Yeah. John Swallow, who resigned from UT’s AG office less than a month ago, was being investigated for corruption and bribery by everyone including the UT House. Which released its report on this week’s hearings yesterday afternoon.

              In a past life, Mr Swallow apparently saved orphans and puppies from a burning building. In this one, he hasn’t earned this kind of luck.

          • STH

            They did eventually get around to it. Hearing for the stay is Monday morning.

        • Tom Servo

          I’m pretty confident in the Supreme Court. I think it’s pretty clear that Kennedy wants a big part of his legacy to be Thurgood Marshall of gay rights. Romer, Lawrence, Windsor. He’ll be the senior justice in any 5-4 vote, get to assign himself the opinion, and he likes to go off on larks, nice big sweeping larks. This is one area where I’m confident.

    • That was my thought. I suspect we’ll see another round of Waah activist judges needta put it on the ballot gimme money to keep the gays offa the lawn of your marriage!

      I think we’re going to see a repeat of Loving here, rather than states finally giving up just because X number of states have flipped. I can imagine saying no to equal marriage will become a point of pride in places a bit further south of Maryland.

    • UserGoogol

      Apparently he was appointed by Obama. It looks like his confirmation wasn’t particularly controversial either, except in the sense that every judicial nomination by Obama has been a pain in the ass to get approved.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    You’re too optimistic. Fighting dead-ender battles against social progress is the real reason God made Oklahoma.

    • KmCO

      Exactly. I could potentially see marriage equality becoming a reality in Utah…a good fifteen to twenty years before it ever has a snowball’s chance in Oklahoma, Mississippi, or Alabama.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        I have an old friend who directs an arts organization in Salt Lake City. He moved there a number of years ago with his then (male) partner (they got married in Massachusetts this summer). To my (and their) surprise, the community has been very publicly welcoming to them as a couple. They think it has something to do with the incredible Mormon emphasis on family (though of course SLC is also dramatically less Mormon than the rest of the state).

        • KmCO

          I believe it. There’s no denying that Utah is a very conservative state; if it wasn’t, the Republican candidates for federal office wouldn’t sweep it with as much predictability as they have. But there is simply a different culture in Utah than there is in other highly conservative, religiously devout states, and it’s one that seems to foster a greater degree of goodwill and community than what is found in large areas of the Bible Belt.

          • GoDeep

            I’ve heard that the Mormon Church does a great deal of social work (meals on wheels; feeding the poor; etc) in the community. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but they seem to be different than the Bible thumpers in TX.

            • Tom Servo

              I know anecdata is not data. But with the exception of one, all of the just under a dozen Mormons I’ve known (mostly from law school, funny enough) have actually been decent people who do put their money where their mouth is when it comes to charitable work. Now, a couple of them had that creepy forced niceness thing, but otherwise…eh, I’ll take Mormons (if they’re like the ones I knew) over evangelicals any day. No contest.

              • Origami Isopod

                My own friends who have escaped from Mormon family will tell you a much different story.

                Plenty of people, religious or otherwise, work with or donate to perfectly good charities but embrace and propagate repulsive social beliefs. The place of women in the Mormon hierarchy is one of those social beliefs.

                • Its a really, really, big community with lots of little subgroups and families. Its perfectly possible for Tom Servo to be correct about the people he met. They are not all conservatives socially or politically–there are pro-gay mormons and pro-women’s rights mormons.

                • Origami Isopod

                  That’s fair, but overall, as an organization, it’s a regressive one.

        • MAJeff

          though of course SLC is also dramatically less Mormon than the rest of the state

          Yup. Things would likely be very different in Provo or the more rural areas of the state.

          • SteveHinSLC

            They are already. Utah County (home to Provo and Brigham Young University) has refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

            • MAJeff

              When I first went on the market, I received an interview offer from Weber State. The day after Prop 8 passed, I withdrew my candidacy, and the person I contacted simply said, “I completely understand.”

          • Yeah, SLC is an island unto itself. I think it may not be majority Mormon, and whether it is or isn’t, I’m pretty sure it’s the least Mormon community in the state.

        • Also, I think Mormons are so used to Us vs. Them thinking its not clear to me that they necessarily care what other people are doing. Their entire religion is based on converting people and then convincing them to act/look/think like Mormons. But if you are a gentile and are clearly never going to convert? I’m not sure why they’d care. As far as they are concerned you are already outide the magic circle. But I’m betting there’s a lot of thinking going on in the hierarchy about how the gayness of people works with the whole baptism of the dead thing.

          • MAJeff

            Who was it that was talking about Willard’s sermon to the Bellmont congregation just after a gay guy came out? They’re good at shunning.

            It seems to me that Mormons are more like Jehovah’s Witnesses or 7th Day Adventists–you’re fine as long as you’re part of the club but suspect if you’re not. They might be surface “friendly,” but it’s surface and you’ll never be accepted as a member of the community.

            I thin SLC is the big deal here, not LDS family values.

            • Malaclypse

              Who was it that was talking about Willard’s sermon to the Bellmont congregation just after a gay guy came out?

              That was me. Cambridge singles ward.

              • But that was a member of the community who became an apostate/renegade. I live in Cambridge, myself, and I think the Mormons are largely unnoticeable politically and socially–they certainly don’t make much of a fuss about gay marriage here. I know that there was tons of mormon money behind prop 8 but I think that Mormons thought of that as generic tithing. Its different to turn to a married gay couple and try to flip one or both.

                • Malaclypse

                  Agreed. This was just a story of Mitt being a massive jerk to someone who was 1) my friend and 2) under Mitt’s pastoral “care.”

                • It was the best Mitt could do absent a gang of thugs to hold him down while Mitt cut the guy’s hair.

                • Mitt was really, really, an asshole as Stake Leader or Bishop or whatever they call him. Remember when it came out that he went to the hospital bedside of a parishioner who was suffering through a horrible birth defect related abortion crisis and tried to talk her out of getting the abortion?

                • MAJeff

                  Willard is, generally, a terrible human being.

                • Tom Servo

                  Have y’all heard about the new Willard Rmoney campaign documentary? I watched a preview of it. I still think he’s terrible, but…it was oddly humanizing. He almost seemed like a self-deprecating, thoughtful human being. Almost.

                • MAJeff

                  Unless it ends with the whole family committing seppuku, I have no desire.

                • I saw a clip of that Netflix doc on Mittens, and it looked to me to be full of delicious Schadenfreude. I’m eager to watch it.

                • I refuse to watch something like “Mittens: the Movie. Larger, Whiter, Funnier than Ever!” Because I know for a fact that I am going to end up feeling like he was humanized and not as awful as I know him to have been. Like I wouldn’t really enjoy seeing Hitler’s home movies either.

                • The clips I saw made him look like an asshole, and surprised the world wasn’t just rolling out the red carpet for him. And I’m all for more of that, when it shows him shocked that he lost.

            • Origami Isopod

              It seems to me that Mormons are more like Jehovah’s Witnesses or 7th Day Adventists–you’re fine as long as you’re part of the club but suspect if you’re not. They might be surface “friendly,” but it’s surface and you’ll never be accepted as a member of the community.

              Yep. Although you get that to a degree with religious conservatives of all kinds. There is a very low tolerance for difference of any sort.

          • Karen

            I have a couple Mormon friends. They have noted to me that the hierarchy is, if anything, sensitive to Business. Right at the moment, business is leaning a bit to the left on social issues. Remember, they only allowed black people to join in the 1970s, coincidentally when courts began to seriously enforce the public accommodations law and public opinion made being that much of a open racist toxic. Women’s rights have, sadly, lagged. If the Marriott hotels have lost enough convention business and Park Cities hasn’t gotten enough skiers for the last couple of years because the public is for marriage equality, the Prophet will get a word from God explaining that the ban on gay marriage was a misinterpretation.

            • Lee Rudolph

              The Book of Mammon?

              • Tres bien.

              • Jon H

                Joseph Smith read the tablets with the aid of a magical green eyeshade.

          • Origami Isopod

            But if you are a gentile and are clearly never going to convert? I’m not sure why they’d care.

            But then why did they throw so much money into Prop H8? There are many more non-Mormons than Mormons to be affected by such laws.

            • Lee Rudolph

              Putting themselves ostentatiously on the side of the most retrograde Roman Catholics, as a ploy towards converting them eventually? I mean, around here where French Canadian and Portuguese Roman Catholic families abound, at least once a week I read an obituary for someone in his or her 80s or 90s who had 9 or 10 siblings. (To be fair, the one I read yesterday was a Smith, not an Oulette or a Santos.) Get a few of their great grandchildren into the LDS, and eventually you’re talking real dividends for post-mortem conversion!

            • MAJeff

              But then why did they throw so much money into Prop H8?

              They were also a driving force behind Hawaii’s anti-gay marriage ballot measure in 1996.

              The answer why is easy: they have long been a very virulently anti-gay religion, and the folks at the top have looked for ways to spread that animus, just like the Roman Catholic Bishops.

              • My guess: some very wealthy politically activist Mormon conservatives funded both efforts, but ran their money through the Church of LDS. That’s what happened in Michigan with the Roman Catholic Church.

                Also, both states are fairly heavily Mormon, California by sheer size if not % of the population, and iirc Hawaii may be the most Mormon state in the country after Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.

                • Jordan

                  I dunno, some of the top of the mormon church hierarchy were pretty heavily involved in hawai’i and in proposition 8.

  • Benjamin

    For extra schadenfreude, count the number of times Scalia’s dissents in Lawrence and Windsor are cited. (I count 11.)

    • Kalil

      I think Justice Shelby was really enjoying that.

      • swearyanthony

        Given Scalia’s only real purpose is to troll from the USSC, its pretty fine to see someone responding in kind.

  • mike in dc

    Assuming that gay rights are broadly ratified, and that at least some drugs currently illegal become legal or decriminalized over the next decade or two, and that immigration reform happens, a natural question vis a vis 21st Century civil rights issues is: What’s next?
    I think “restoring and expanding privacy rights” should be numero uno by a decent margin. “general economic justice for the American working and middle class” is also a big one. Any other suggestions?

    • Those are both pretty broad for how these movements tend to go. I do suspect you are probably right that it will have something to do with privacy.

      I also think a meaningful anti-debt movement could arise, but that’s really a different kind of movement.

    • Linnaeus

      The econ justice issue is an important one because a lot of people still pull the “socially liberal, but economically conservative” canard.

      • GoDeep

        To your point, the Millenials may be different but I think most Gen Xers are tending toward the ‘liberal-tarian’ views, ie “socially liberal” & “fiscally conservative” as you said. Hopefully Obamacare will convince more of us to be at least fiscally moderate if not fiscally liberal, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed.

        • Tom Servo

          I wonder why that is. My pet theory is that it’s symptomatic of “false centrism.” We’re moving to the left on social issues (which is good!) a lot faster than I ever expected. So, most non-white conservative douches (and even some white conservative douches) need to at least pay lip service/grudgingly accept socially liberal policies in polite company. But they claim to be fiscally conservative to “balance” themselves out and appear reasonable and Very Serious and Thoughtful.

          • Tom Servo

            One of my cousins is in law school now actually, and I’ve been talking to him. A lot of, er, “kids” these days are very, very liberal on social issues (which is good!).

            But I wonder if the increasing social acceptance of being very liberal on social issues at their age (20s, especially early 20s), sort of tugs people (especially whiter and wealthier people) who would otherwise be Republicans/conservative along with the generational tide. And lest they appear “too” liberal or extreme, they pivot to the right on fiscal issues, and take some people who are on the fence with them. I don’t know. I’m more and more convinced of it. I think a lot of it is thoughtless hedging to appear reasonable.

            I’m just stunned at all the kids (kids meaning 20s) I’ve interacted with who think that the Republicans are only loony on social issues. I don’t get it.

            • Basically who marries who neither picks my pocket nor steals my purse–that’s “liberalism” in your 20s. When you have assets and fear the loss of income through taxation then you become a fiscal conservative. There’s really no cognitive dissonance there at all and never has been. The vast majority of current conservative voters may think of themselves as values voters but their values are all caught up in rage at a basically crappy economy and a tendency to point fingers at the wrong culprits. Its not like people in their twenties now who don’t care about gays or hipsters or whatever are going to be any different when/if they have assets to protect. But they won’t bother with the values/sex stuff. They will just come out strongly for randian selfishness.

              • GoDeep

                Both of those are interesting theories & I haven’t considered either of them before. So I’ll have to chew on it.

                My view is that the Great Depression & WW2 created a much higher sense of community/solidarity than we had had before. In the ’60s, however, as the various civil rights & sexual revolution movements took their course, these oppressed groups talked abt the importance of individual rights & individual self expression. Remember one of the key things MLK was responding to in Letters from a Birmingham jail was the pressure from white Christians who had asked him to slow down his efforts b/cs the community couldn’t evolve that fast. In the ’70s that movement accelerated; its no coincidence we coined the term “Me Generation” then.

                While support for such personal affirmation is good for women, minorities, and gays, such a philosophy in the hands of a white, male Harvard MBA–say, Mitt Romney, for instance–might be construed to mean that he should get all he can for himself & to Hell with everyone else. Contrast Mitt’s 47% remark with what his father, George Romney, said abt laissez-faire capitalism & “rugged individualism”:

                “It’s nothing but a political banner to cover up greed.”

                Is there anyone who doesn’t think that Mitt, in contrast, thinks ‘greed is good’?

    • pseudalicious

      Reproductive rights and making rape a thing of the past, for starters.

      • STH

        Yes, absolutely. The huge elephant in the room we’re not talking about here is reproductive rights. Women do not have the right to control their own bodies.

    • Kalil

      There’s not quite the level of direct animosity, but the fact that atheists compose 5-15 percent of the population and 0% of Congress indicates that there’s a fight to be fought there…

      (Yes, I’m well aware that there are plenty of closeted atheists in congress, but that’s just the thing: they feel they have to be closeted!)

      • Colin Day

        Actually, Pete Stark was an open atheist in Congress until earlier this year.

        Pete Stark

        • Anonymous

          He came out as atheist in 2007, having already served 24 years in the House. While admirable, he was in a position of relative security, and near the end of his career in any case.

        • Kalil

          Yes. Was. My statement stands.
          Also, what Anon said above.
          (And even after ‘coming out’ as an atheist, he was also certain to remind people that he was still a good church-going Unitarian.)

    • Kalil

      I don’t see the gay rights fight ‘ending’ any more than the race or gender fights have. I /do/ see it rapidly approaching the same level of low-key persistent bias that is far harder to fight, but is no longer systemic and /openly/ violent.

      Furthermore, that ‘T’ in ‘LGBT’ is lagging by a decade or two in acceptance, both legal and societal, and the smaller, ‘stranger’ queer minorities (asexual, polyamorous, non-binary, intersex, etc) are even further behind.

      • Tom Servo

        I understand that trans issues are behind, and polyamorous. But I guess I don’t know much about asexuals? They aren’t as physically obvious as trans and many cis gay people can be, do they really face a lot of the same issues? I’ll admit I’m a little ignorant, but we don’t have pushes for asexual marriage or issues with reassignment there. Is it just having a low sex drive? Don’t most people acknowledge that sex drives vary? And wouldn’t an asexual be less objectionable to vile rightwing social conservatives?

        • Kalil

          My understanding from asexual folks I’ve talked to is that they suffer a similar set of bigotries to gays and lesbians – people trying to ‘convert’ them. “Oh, you just haven’t met the right boy/girl yet.” I don’t know how much they have in the way of legal issues (not much, I presume), and I’d guess they have a relatively easy time staying ‘closeted’, but they’re certainly not understood/respected.

          (They also face the same set of religious biases as LGBT – the interpretation of “be fruitful and multiply” as a divine command rather than a blessing…)

          I can’t really speak for that community, as I’m not a part of it myself, and am only very peripherally familiar with it, but I do know they do have political concerns and are developing an advocacy structure (they had a booth at Pride).

          • Richard Gadsden

            Single people in general (of whom asexuals are a subset) face a fair amount of disadvantage. Single people earn less than coupled people (once you split out the impact of motherhood).

            There are social issues (not having a +1 for events). Asexuals who aren’t aromantic can have relationship issues, too.

          • Origami Isopod

            Asexuals and their claims to being “just as oppressed” as GLBT folks are tiresome. No, sorry, you are not being bashed in the street, denied employment opportunities, or thrown out by your parents because you don’t want to fuck/don’t feel romantic attraction/whatever.

            Also, quite a lot of online asexual commentary has a lot of gross assumptions it about “sexuals.” Such as that sex is gross and women, being the sex class, especially so. Or that asexuals are more at risk for rape than “sexuals” are.

            • BubbaDave

              Is it time for the Opression Olympics already?

              Speaking from my own privilege (upper-middle-class white het cis Christian guy), I’m not interested in the “who has it worse” debates, because our job is to help EVERYBODY achieve the social and legal equality that is their due. I don’t care whether trans- folk are more oppressed than ace, or where black males fit vis-a-vis white females on the totem pole. We can work for civil rights and reproductive rights. We can work for economic justice and to limit climate change. We can work for marriage equality and separation of church and state and an end to the War on (some classes of people who use some) Drugs and employment non-discrimination. And not only can we, we must, because that’s whow we build a broad-based movement that will defend everybody’s rights.

              • Origami Isopod

                It’s not a question of “Oppression Olympics.” It’s a question of people who aren’t oppressed in any meaningful way as asexuals taking someone else’s mantle of oppression and draping it over their own shoulders.

                Oh, and I forgot to mention: Polyamorous people who are straight and cisgendered aren’t “queer.” That’s another gross appropriation of someone else’s oppression.

                • Anonymous

                  Thank you for that.

        • Kalil

          Adding to my previous reply:
          A very brief perusal of asexual websites brought up non-discrimination issues (they are not necessarily covered under ENDA-style bills), and pathologizing of their sexuality (doctors trying to ‘fix’ them). There has also apparently been at least one case of an asexual couple being denied an adoption after they were asked why they didn’t have children of their own.

          They also linked me to this study on bias towards asexuals, which was found to be comparable to the animus held towards homosexuals, which suggests that inclusive non-discrimination is indeed important.

          • Origami Isopod

            As this person says, the study does not use a consistent definition of asexuality, embraces extremely hyperbolic language, and makes sweeping assertions.

          • “One asexual couple denied the right to adopt a child?” Of for fuck’s sake. Get back to me with an actual statistically meaningful sample and number of incidents.

    • Rarely Posts

      My personal votes:
      1. Environmental issues, dealing with diminishing natural resources, and public health.
      2. Economic inequality and reducing the financialization of the economy.
      3. Universal preschool and paid maternity & paternity leave.

      The issue that I suspect will eventually become a liberal policy but that I’m not yet ready to accept because I’m selfish: Animal rights and welfare, vegetarianism.

      The saddest issue that we may have no solution for: A series of wars that grow out of preexisting ethnic and political conflicts, resource depletion, and destabilization with climate change and ocean acidification. A lot of the world is in deep trouble.

      • Tom Servo

        How would vegetarianism as liberal policy work! I can see increasing social pressure against eating meat (in the same that being racist or homophobic, at least overtly, have become less socially acceptable over time).

        I’m not against animal rights, and I actually do think we eat too much meat in this country, more than is good for us or the environment. I’m perfectly willing to cut down on meat consumption. In fact, I have. But you will take my hamburger/barbacoa/New York strip from my cold dead hands. I’d sooner join al Qaeda than live in an America where meat is outlawed (NSA note: joking!).

        I think we’ll see recognition of animal rights in my lifetime (and I’m pushing 40). I don’t think vegetarianism will be legally required (by virtue of meat-eating being outlawed) in my lifetime or my children’s lifetime. Perhaps when my future grandchildren are my age, but not before.

        So I would bet my house that meat eating will be legal for the next several decades. But I suspect vegetarianism will be de facto mandated because meat will get more and more expensive, for a variety of reasons, including climate change.

        • Tom Servo

          Basically: unless you’re rich, chances are you’ll be a vegetarian or at least meat will be a rare treat for me and you due to prices (not government-set to discourage meat-eating, just market price) within the next couple of decades. But I could be wrong. I myself once dabbled in vegetarianism, but I couldn’t get Peter Singer’s jerkoff smirk out of my head.

        • Jordan

          Mandated vegetarianism probably isn’t on the cards. But it wouldn’t be that hard to have strengthened/enforced animal welfare laws for food animals.

        • I’ve eaten plenty of meat myself over the past six decades (as a sibling once quipped, if God hadn’t intended for us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat), but I am becoming gradually more sympathetic to vegetarianism as an ethical stance. This has yet to affect my dietary practices, but it imparts a certain pang as I tear into my veal and foie gras. Like St. Augustine, I pray “make me vegetarian–but not yet!”

          I’m inclined to agree with you that meat consumption will gradually become economically unfeasible for the hoi polloi, and after that it will come to be widely regarded as immoral.

      • Origami Isopod

        The issue that I suspect will eventually become a liberal policy but that I’m not yet ready to accept because I’m selfish: Animal rights and welfare, vegetarianism.

        Animal welfare, I’m fine with. Animal rights? No. And, quite honestly, since we can’t seem to ensure human rights for anyone who isn’t a straight white cisgendered man of able body and the “right flavor” of xtianity, I side-eye ARAs who think that giving the moo-cows equal rights with humans is the world’s most pressing issue.

        • Anonymous

          Again, yes. Speaking as a diehard vedge, humans are always, always and forever, more important than animals. Always. No choice between them: humans matter, and human welfare trumps an animal’s every time. If only the world worked this way.

          • Jordan

            That isn’t right at all. Some small discomfort for myself is less important than causing massive suffering for animals or “moo-cows.”

        • Jordan

          ” I side-eye ARAs who think that giving the moo-cows equal rights with humans is the world’s most pressing issue.”

          There is almost literally no one in the world who believes this. But keep on keeping on!

    • That’s a really great observation and a really great question.

    • GoDeep

      I’m surprised no one’s mentioned ‘women’s rights’. As women continue to outstrip men in college attendance & continue to increase their proportion of the vote woman oriented issues will increase in importance.

      I doubt we’ll see a renewed ERA effort, but we’ll probably see increased efforts to improve sexual harassment laws; strengthen Title IX enforcement; improve rape and cyber-bully prevention; and improve family support structures (eg, more/better Family Leave Act). While I’m not a supporter of Nordic-style social policies, many women are & I expect that we’ll see a movement to adopt similar policies in this country. (Women carry as much of the domestic load as we ever have). While I’m doubtful much will happen, on my personal wish list is an attempt to rein in the hyper-sexualization of young girls & the gender essentialism that’s (IMO) as pernicious as ever.

      This was meant to be an essay question, no? ;-)

      • Tom Servo

        I was wondering if you could flesh out your thought on and opposition to Nordic social policies. I’m actually intrigued by your worldview, not spoiling for a fight.

        • GoDeep

          Hey, Tom. They just bend a bit too socialistic for me. I like the fact that they try to improve the domestic workload by generous leave for fathers, for instance, but if I’m not mistaken the Swedes grant parents 1.5yrs in paid leave. That’s just too much for me. Whether or not to have kids & how many to have is a personal choice (I for instance have chosen not to have kids).

          I think 3 mos of paid leave is reasonable, I might (maybe) even support 6 mos. 1.5yrs is way, way too much IMO. I have a HS friend who had 10 kids. For her that would be 15yrs of paid time off. I love her, but that’s a heckuva lot PTO! …OTOH I do rather like their subsidized day-care model…so there are some elements that I think we can successfully borrow from.

          • You could limit the benefit to two kids per person. Or even two kids per married couple. If you were concerned about subsidizing someone’s child hoarding behavior. That wouldn’t stop people from having kids over the two child limit and it would penalize the other children, but you could choose to structure your policy that way. As for your “choosing” to have no children–do you know for a fact that you never had any unintended children that someone else wasn’t paying for? And are you never planning to use the services of a younger work force? You might be better off thinking of tax payer supported parental leave policies, like tax payer supported health care and public education, as things that you benefitted from yourself or that the population as a whole rewards with a healthier, higher tax paying populace capable of supporting your social security and medicare demands.

            • GoDeep

              Oh, yeah, Aimai, I certainly benefited from public support–housing, food stamps, Pell Grant, etc. In general I’m just not as socialistic as others here might be. So I’m all for increasing food stamps, the EITC, public school funding, and the minimum wage, but at some point I have philosophical objections to the extensiveness of the Nordic-system. I have a pretty healthy belief in individual responsibility & individual initiative, and I think its important to preserve a healthy sphere for individual responsibility. So, for me its a balance act b/tn individual & collective responsibility & I think they lean too far in the collective direction. Ironically, while I’m giving a lot of support to my parents, I won’t have any kids to do the same for me…so, at some increased level of redistribution for toward parents w/ kids, I think there’s been enough. In my estimation that level is more than the US has today & less than Sweden has.

              • If you benefitted from all those things what you mean is its socialism for you when you need it, and not for someone else’s kids when they need it. That is a bog standard kind of conservative attitude which we usually call “fuck you, I got mine.”

                “Socialistic” the way you are using it means what, exactly? That we recognize we live in a community in which we all rise and fall together? I like to think of that as my Yankee heritage, actually, going back to the Puritans.

                • Origami Isopod

                  If you benefitted from all those things what you mean is its socialism for you when you need it, and not for someone else’s kids when they need it. That is a bog standard kind of conservative attitude which we usually call “fuck you, I got mine.”

                  What she said.

                • GoDeep

                  C’mon, Aimai, you’re not really suggesting that unless I support the entirety of the Swedish social-economic system then I’m extending a big middle finger to working class ppl are you? Or are you? I support much, more generous & extensive redistribution than we have today, but less than what Sweden offers. I even agree that my taxes are too low, but somehow I’m shatting on others.

                  I donate 15-20% of my income each year & I support higher taxes on top of that, but I’m a villain now? Wow. I think for me to be a villain I’d have to be proposing cuts in programs as opposed to the increases I support, but its certainly your prerogative to call me a villain.

                • GoDeep

                  C’mon, OI, I didn’t say we should CUT those things, I said we should EXPAND those things. That can’t be a FU.

                • Its not that you are a villain, its just that “socialistic” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

                • GoDeep

                  LOL, there you go again.

                  There are, indeed, many economic models of socialism, ranging from the social democratic model practiced in W. Europe to the industrial socialism practiced by much of the world after WW2. Redistribution is key to all of them & its in that sense I use the word “socialistic”. If you prefer “redistribution” that’s fine too.

          • djw

            I have a HS friend who had 10 kids. For her that would be 15yrs of paid time off.

            A) I tend to think of such entitlements as being partly for the parent, but more for the child. I that sense, his ninth and tenth children are no less deserving than the first.

            B) This is a terrible case to use to think about optimal public policy, because families of this size are vanishingly rare and getting rarer; they’re just not a big enough category to worry about.

            Your larger argument here isn’t an argument at all. It “seems” like too much. What method did you use to arrive at the optimal amount of paid parental leave?

            • GoDeep

              Hey, DJW, that’s the last example I would cite as a defense of the policy, I was just sending her a Xmas card & so she came to mind as a case to which I’d have normative objections.

              I couldn’t cite any empirical studies against the Swedish model; I haven’t dug into it empirically TBH & I’m not suggesting an empirical basis for my beliefs here. Its a philosophical belief on my part. At some point individuals have to take control of their life choices. While I think we provide far too small a safety net today, full on Swedish style policies run counter to my beliefs in individual reliance…I’ll put it like this, I philosophically oppose a marginal tax rate higher than 50%. Given we’re at ~39% now I think we can increase the social safety net a good bit. I also think we should equalize capital gains & income tax rates; that too would help expand the social safety net. And decreasing state sales tax would also be a big lift for the working class.

              • But its a weird kind of argument to make that deciding to have ten children, even if it is partially subsidized by the state, isn’t “taking control of one’s life choices” or even “not being self reliant.” For example a woman who did the same thing with 10 foster children would be “taking control” of her life and,with a subsidy from the state, she should be seen as quite self reliant and productive. What about having the ten kids biologically makes that somehow useless, non work? Because you think she’s self gratifying rather than working hard at raising the next generation for the country?

                The country needs healthy, well educated, productive citizens. If we chose to subsidize their biological creators that might just be very good policy, actually, for all of us. In any event it doesn’t lessen the parents “self reliance” or the very hard work it is to raise kids during that first two years (which, in my opinion, ought to be fully subsidized for all parents.)

                • GoDeep

                  Don’t get it twisted, I don’t view my friend negatively. Its not my choice, but I support her choice. She made a conscious decision well before she ever got married that she wanted 10 kids. That’s taking control IMO…But if we were to give her 15yrs of Paid Time Off a la Sweden that would not be taking control of her choices. The self-gratification angle is kind of a non-starter for me in that its none of my business how many kids somebody wants, but expect that society won’t subsidize beyond N kids or $N per month. I don’t think the foster kid thing is a good example b/cs foster parents are taking on kids that would otherwise be parentless & those kids deserve social insurance.

                  I concede that you may be right on what’s “best” for the country’s future in an empirical sense; this is as much a philosophical belief that at some level ppl need to own their decisions.

    • Origami Isopod

      I’m really not sure how the War on Women didn’t occur to you as a major issue to be addressed. Half of us cannot be assured of autonomy over our own bodies, whether in terms of reproductive rights or in terms of getting justice in a courtroom against rapists even if they’d video’ed the act(s).

      Also, as others said, these issues never get fully resolved. There is always a rear-guard action against them, and especially against issues of gender equality, because that cuts very deep socially speaking. The entire attitude of “Feminism’s over, you broads won, what are you bitching about?” has been a potent weapon of regressives.

  • Linnaeus

    I’m in Michigan now, and I’m thinking of using this ruling to try and convince people here to get with the program.

    • Fake Irishman

      There’s rumbling that people are going to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot will junk the 2004 vote. Michigan is changing fast on that score.

      • Don K

        As far as I know Equality Michigan is holding to their timetable of aiming for the 2016 ballot. Has to do with wanting the high turnout of a presidential election plus potentially a large number of proposals for ’14 undoing the actions of this legislature (if Michiganians are faced with too many proposals, a fair number of them have the attitude of “I don’t have time to figure this out, I’ll just vote no”).

        I agree whenever it’s on the ballot it will pass. My partner and I are going to be married in MA over Christmas, and universally the reaction of people we know (old, young, liberal or conservative) is that they’re thrilled for us. Never underestimate the power of people knowing they know gay friends or relatives

        • MAJeff

          Never underestimate the power of people knowing they know gay friends or relatives

          The data tend to show that having gay friends is a more significant predictor of support for marriage equality–and LGBT rights more generally–than having gay family members.

          Or: You pick your friends but are stuck with kin.

        • In the polling we did in 2004 for the campaign against the Michigan amendment in whatever demographic you picked–whites, blacks, people with less than a college degree, Catholics, white evangelicals, whatever–those who reported knowing someone who was gay were almost uniformly 15 points more tolerant than those who claimed they didn’t know anyone who was gay (which, of course, is one of the most preposterous beliefs anyone can have, since whether people realize it or not they know lots of LGBT people).

          • GoDeep

            Oh, Dana, I’m so glad you mentioned this. I remember the run up to the Prop 8 election and talking to some friends who were LGBT activists. I told them there needed to be a much bigger campaign to personalize the issue–make ppl see that in voting for Prop 8 they were voting to deny ppl they knew personally the right to marry. I think my friends were sensitive to the need to do this, but I detected a lot of antipathy among the broader LGBT activist community. I don’t think they ever seriously considered the fact that they might lose the vote in ‘liberal’ Cali… I had 2 nieces come out in the last few years & while it didn’t change my parents’ religious views, it *prolly* has moderated their political views.

      • Tom Servo

        While you’re at it, you guys should put repealing the amendment made by Proposal 2 on the ballot.

    • I managed the campaign against the 2004 vote. One of the most frustrating things of my career, because the “experts” with HRC and that other group that I think used to be a big deal but has not largely vanished were convinced we couldn’t win in Michigan. They got Stryker to agree with them, and about three times the money went to Oregon for a less restrictive ban. Stryker sent about 20 times the money he gave us to


      . We pretty much ran a campaign different than everyone else was running at the time: rather than plead with people to not be mean to gays, or do some stupid ass “get in people’s face and make them face their bigotry” bullshit circle jerk, we tried to win by scaring the shit out of straight people, showing how it would abrogate collective bargaining agreements, would screw over local control, and take health care away from kids and imperil benefits for unmarried straight people. The national groups pretty much ignored us, we actually made the other side spend a couple million dollars against us–at that time there was pretty much no money being spent to pass those things, Michigan was about the only place they did, I’m certain with Tom Monaghan’s money laundered through the Archdiocese of Detroit and the other six dioceses in the state–and we ended up with a 42% no vote, despite not having any money to go up on TV outside the Detroit, Flint and Lansing media markets. And that 42% was better than any other state except Oregon, which got three times the money we got in a state one third the size, and who iirc did one point better than us.

      Not that I’m still pissed about it or anything… [/rant]

      But to your point: the LGBT community nationally and in almost every state and locality is far, far better at legal strategies than they are at electoral efforts, so I’m not sanguine about the chances of overturning the MI ban. But I agree with you that the state is probably ready to accept SSM, in part because the African American community, at least in Metro Detroit, was far more tolerant on the matter back in 2004 than were African American communities almost anywhere else in the country (in part because several of the most prominent ministers, especially the Baptists, were fairly outspoken on the side of tolerance, and probably are now on the side of equality). Now I think rather than narrowly defeating the ban in Detroit, overturning it would do overwhelmingly well in Detroit, Southfield and the other heavily African-American communities in the metro area. And obviously the support among white voters would expand well beyond the places we did best in 2004, like Ann Arbor, Ingham County, the wealthy communities of Oakland Co, etc.

      • [Oops, hit blockquote instead of italics.]

      • Correcty Fairy

        To be fair, Equality Maine did a wonderful, personal campaign, going door to door, especially after they lost the first time. But I agree that in most states GLBT activists put all their energy into lobbying legislators and fail to engage voters effectively.

        • It’s a striking difference to me, how savvy and effective the LGBT community has been on legal strategies–and I’m talking not about lobbying, but about litigation–and how ineffective nationally they’ve been. And I’m not putting that at the state level as much as at the national level. Maybe it’s gotten better in the last 6-8 years, but when I was dealing with them I didn’t encounter anyone at the national organizations that had much–if any–experience in non-LGBT electoral politics, and almost everyone was themselves LGBT. Contrast that with Emily’s List, whose staff is almost entirely people with electoral politics experience. I realize EL has a narrower mandate than the LGBT organizations, but what EL does should be a component of the national organizations’ work, and unless it’s really taken off in the last few campaign cycles, the national organizations do little if any sophisticated and effective electoral work.

          One change I’ve seen in the last few cycles is that some of the initiative/referenda campaigns are being more professionally run. Instead of relying entirely on LGBT people–especially marketing/PR types within the community–they’re now running campaigns a bit more like it was a referenda on an environmental or taxation or casino gaming vote. Not always, in part because it’s hard to create/get legitimacy for a top-down campaign committee, so the leadership tables for these campaigns is usually unwieldy and insufficiently focused; I’ve heard that was a problem with Prop 8 (although I’m just repeating some rumors that make sense to me but that I can’t vouch for and may be inaccurate). But overall, there’s a welcome shift toward hiring good consultants and professional staff. I hope the trend continues.

  • Surreal American

    Troll complaints of federal overreach will begin in 5…4…3…

  • LeeEsq

    Holy crap, what great news for a Friday afternoon.

  • Surreal American

    Utah. Friggin Utah. Great news, but I still can’t get my head around this.

  • Surreal American

    Considering how much the Mormon Church was behind Prop 8 in California, the recent federal ruling in Utah has to be the freude icing on the schaden cake.

    • MAJeff

      I shall have a warm beverage, maybe one with alcohol, to celebrate!

      • Surreal American

        I will celebrate with Irish coffee.

      • N__B

        Whilst wearing footie pajamas, I hope.

  • mch

    Such good news. But could it backfire? I’m wondering if this ruling will prompt challenges to the polygamy laws, opening a Pandora’s box of right-wing paranoia.

    • ResumeMan

      Didn’t the polygamy law also basically just get nuked this week? Jeez, must be the oncoming apocalypse!

      • MAJeff

        No. A co-habitation law got axed.

    • Gwen

      Does the right-wing even care about polygamy?

    • Tom Servo

      If the alternative is doing nothing or the functional equivalent of nothing, I say fuck it and hit the big red button.

  • john not mccain

    Truly this is a Stones and Southern Tier night.

    • Tom Servo

      let it bleed

      • john not mccain

        Utah cum all over me.

  • Johnny Sack

    This is also a good reminder for those of us who live in blue states about how we can’t forget about the non-wingnuts in the red states.

  • I don’t think we’re yet at the tipping point. But one or two more states, especially if one is in the south, will do it. Remember, Loving‘s a Virginia case.

  • Karen

    This gives me a change to note that Dallas County elected a lesbian sheriff, Houston has a lesbian mayor, and one of the Court of Criminal Appeals justices switched from the R’s to the D’s. While Texas has a loooonnnnggg road before becoming a blue state, I think there is reason for optimism on marriage equality here. We have the largest gay church on the planet in Dallas, which I’m sure could use the business.

  • SteveHinSLC

    Not only is SLC not really all that Mormon, but it is emphatically not all that Mormon. There are basically two white cultures here – the multi-generation Mormon Utah residents, and the people who moved here for the skiing/desert/mountains. Those of us in the second group all put our dogs in our Subarus and drive them to the Farmer’s Market every weekend.

    The judge who issued today’s ruling is from the second group. He is also young for a judge. I am not at all surprised that he would issue the ruling. I also would not be surprised if he issued a stay in the next couple of hours.

    But until then, big things are happening around here. The Salt Lake County Clerk started issuing licenses right away, and apparently their office is being inundated with same-sex couples hoping to tie the knot quickly. The chairman of the state Democratic Party was one of them; the Mayor of SLC performed his ceremony.

    • MAJeff

      There was also a state Senator.

      • SteveHinSLC

        Same guy, actually.

    • Gwen

      Utah is really unique among the states, but it sounds like the closest real analogy to what just happened, say, is if all of a sudden Austin or Nashville just got to stick it to all the reactionaries in the surrounding counties.

  • MAJeff
  • Gwen

    Surprised the right-wing noise machine hasn’t yet linked this to the recent spate of mysterious deaths of bald eagles in Utah.


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    Your story-telling style is witty, keep doing what you’re

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