Last edited: January 01, 2005

Letter: Gays Snubbed

Salt Lake Tribune, January 14, 2001
P. O. Box 867, Salt Lake City, UT 84110
Fax: 801-257-8950

Like Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Andersonís Alliance for Unity, The Tribuneís special report "The Unspoken Divide" glaringly omits gay people. Andersonís uncharacteristic slight is puzzling and The Tribuneís alleged intent on bridging the divide between practicing Mormons and the rest of Utah is nothing more than pretense. You cannot have an honest and fruitful debate about cultural divisions in Utah without broaching the subject of gay people and how they are treated here. The Tribune only deepens the chasm by further disenfranchising gay people by ignoring them in the report.

The divide between Mormons and "non-Mormons" has much more to do with politics than religion. Mormon beliefs alone are not causing the divide. It is the LDS Churchís action of petitioning and strong influence in making state policies to force lay citizens to follow their doctrine that is troubling.

Many of the contributors to the report made suggestions of trying to put yourself in the other personís position as a way of learning empathy. OK, how would you feel if gay people and their supporters introduced legislation that would make it illegal for Mormons to get married or adopt children, and gave no protection to Mormons from being fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes just because they were Mormon?

It is true that Mormons are not the only people who are anti-gay, nor are all Mormons homophobes. However, it is a fact that the LDS Church supports and finances an anti-gay agenda. Furthermore, LDS Church leaders tell LDS faithful to participate in anti-gay causes. There is an encouraging trend where more states are including gay people in civil protections and hate crime bills. Slowly but inevitably states also continue to abolish unjust anti-gay sodomy laws. Utah, however, lags woefully behind due in no small part to the dominating influence of the LDS Church.

To Shelley Thomas who does not think that the LDS Church should be criticized on issues of personal faith, or lambasted for their doctrine, shame on you. If that personal faith is hateful and bigoted, if it is used by the religious institutions to justify evil actions, then, certainly, it should be harshly criticized.

To Rob Warner, who cannot understand why there are bitter protests against the LDS Church, get real. Your church might teach you to be "kind and accepting," but actions speak louder than words.

You cannot support malicious laws toward gay people then expect a friendly response even if you have an amiable smile and loving words.

ó Lore Gonzales, West Valley City

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