Thursday, January 19, 2012
Equality Utah: Boiling the Frog In the Pot
Yesterday afternoon I was at Capitol Hill meeting with stakeholders regarding one of my bills. While I was there, I bumped into a few of my colleagues to discuss some of the upcoming issues.
One of my Republican colleagues revealed he would be co-sponsoring a bill with a Senate Democrat. That doesn't seem so outrageous to me, I did that last year. But, the subject matter of his bill I thought was unusual. It appears that this year the same-sex attraction community is pushing for an anti-discriminatory bill to protect those in the LGBT community from eviction or firing from employment based on sexual orientation. The bill has not been released yet for review but it should be soon. Supposedly, it will mirror several statutes that already exist in several municipalities. I don't doubt that.
Personally, I feel that this bill will codify what is already the everyday practice of the marketplace and society. I don't oppose the bill's provisions because I don't think it is going to change anything about how people go about their business.
But, this raises another question. Why even run this bill? Is it a solution looking for a problem to solve? On the surface it appears to be. But when one takes a step back and examines the dynamics of LGBT issues and politics, it materializes that this bill is just one arrow in the quiver of same-sex attraction political strategy.
When I came home, I was greeted on my dining table by this packet that arrived in the mail from Equality Utah:
Equality Utah: Dan Jones Survey Results 1-19-12
The questionnaire lays the groundwork for the debate with an obvious bias by the survey sponsor, Equality Utah, in favor of the anti-discriminatory bill and other issues. The survey shows overwhelming support for an anti-discriminatory law. I think this reflects my perception. Everyone thinks it's the law already because that is how people already behave.
Also, to put further support behind this bill and others that are sure to follow, the survey asks if Utah is perceived as being fair and respectful of gay and transgendered folks. What is interesting about this is that it does not ask if Utah is fair and respectful but asks if other people think it is perceived as such. So the question is like me asking: What do you think your sister thinks about you? Not: What do you think of yourself. Interesting way to ask the question. Anyway, the majority say we don't think others perceive us well. Is this just more of the usual Utah-peculiar-people-self-conciousness? I bet that this score would be high regardless of the subject matter. You could ask: Do you think outsiders think Utahn's are strange? Of course we think they do. Perhaps we should keep that in mind while interpreting these survey results.
I will let you review the rest of the survey. But one thing is certain, expect to see more legislation to push forward the agenda of the gay and lesbian community. Clearly, encouraged by these survey results, the LGBT community feels that now is the time to strike to push their own agenda forward. For instance, today's Salt Lake Tribune reports about an openly gay Democratic colleague of mine who is pushing for insurance benefits for cohabitating adults of any sexual orientation. I am not especially excited about this particular measure.
Of course, the ultimate prize is to somehow conquer public opinion and legalize same-sex marriages at the Federal level. Like any experienced Cajun chef knows, you don't throw a frog in a boiling pot. Frogs are best cooked slowly and warmed to boiling degree by degree. For the LGBT community, that is done one state and one statute at a time.