Friday, August 28, 2009

A letter to Gary

For the record, I was working on a nicer, less political/militant/bitchy post, and then I read my daily gay news update. For those who are part of the inside joke, just read the following post and imagine a % symbol on either side of the whole thing.

Gentle readers, I'd like to introduce you to Gary Herbert, the new governor of Utah - I'd like to have a conversation with Gary today, though you're free to listen in. The previous gov, Jon Huntsman, is off to take a new job as the ambassador to China. Congrats, Jon. When asked why he doesn't support GLBTQ rights bills like Jon did, Gary had this to say:

"We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to
just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to
have a law that punishes us if we don't."

The full article is at if you're interested, though I should warn you - it might make your brain bleed a little bit. I know it did mine. I'm afraid we don't live in Candyland, though they have rules there too, come to think of it. I would say that most people resist their homocidal tendicies by not killing people...but it's not because it's considered "doing the right thing." No, we have laws that prohibit such actions, and they comes with penalties that punish folks who just can't seem to do what's right. The simple truth of the matter is that not everyone does the right thing all the time, and that we should prepare ourselves for the times when they don't. I like to call this "reality."

Gary also said it would bog the state down in "minutiae." Really, Gary? Can I call you Gary? I don't believe that visiting my partner in the hospital or being able to get him insurance (which we currently can't) is minutiae. And Gary, I don't think it's "trivial" that he would have to pay extra inheritance taxes on the house if something happened to me. And it's not a "detail" that he can legally be fired for being gay.

Gary went on to ask "Where do you stop? I mean, that's the problem going down that slippery road. Pretty soon we're going to have a special law for blue-eyed blonds ... or people who are losing their hair a little bit." I realize that as a new governor you're probably a very busy guy, Gary, but let's try to stay on topic. I'd appreciate it if we could compare apples and apples here, if you know what I mean. We're not firing people for being blonde and we're not saying you can't get married if you're bald. Our laws DO prevent regular folks like me from doing the same thing because I happen to love another man. Also for the record, the "slippery slope" argument is a type of logical fallacy. I learned to avoid these in debate, clear back in 9th grade, but it seems Gary didn't.

Gary, imagine for a moment that you lived in a world where a majority of the folks happen to be gay, but you're still straight. (I hope I'm not assuming too much, Gary - I'm going to guess that you're just unaware, rather than think you're a masochistic, self-loathing queen who needs to put down the dress and come out of the closet and into the light with the rest of us...but I digress.) Would it be fair for the gay society to take away over 1000 federal rights and privileges? Would you be willing and able to change who you love just so you can fit in? When you can't find a job, rent an apartment, or have your partner at your bedside in ICU, would it still just be "minutiae" or "a slippery slope?"

Gary, I read about your comments in a daily news update. Earlier this week there was a story about a Michigan man who was attacked in a park by his neighbors because he's gay; they beat him severly and burned him with cigarettes. Today's included a followup story announcing the sentence in another case of assault, this time in Dallas. This summer I've read about Fort Worth police beating a man in a gay bar during a "routine check," a teacher who was fired for being gay, and a pastor who claims a tornado was God's punishment for allowing gay clergy. Oh silly me, I guess that was all just this month, my mistake. Are these minor annoyances too, the kind that would "bog down" the government?

You know, Gary, I've been told there are a number of folks living in Utah who happen to be LDS. Now I don't agree with a whole lot the Mormon Church says, but I respect their right to say and believe it. I also don't think it's okay to persecute anyone of any faith for their beliefs as long as those beliefs stay within the confines of the law. I'm very glad we have laws that protect religious folks' employment, right to marry, right to buy a house, etc. I know there are folks out there who might fire people over their religion or make comments about "those people" moving into the neighborhood. Gary, don't you think everyone deserves the same respect?