Ogden senator to speak at Stand for Marriage event

Jan 27 2014 - 7:01am

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OGDEN -- Stuart Reid, who represents Davis, Weber and Morgan counties in the state Senate, will be one of several local speakers Tuesday at a Stand For Marriage event at the Utah Capitol.  

"It's an educational event to help people understand the importance to society of traditional marriage between one man and one woman," Reid said Friday. "It's an opportunity for the public to know there are many people concerned about the recent ruling of Judge Shelby."

On Dec. 20, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. An estimated 1,000 to 1,300 same-sex couples legally married over the next 17 days, until Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted Utah's request to block the judge's ruling while Utah appeals it.

Reid, R-Ogden, said traditional marriage already is struggling in modern society.

"More and more are getting divorced and fewer are getting married," he said. "More children are born out of wedlock. The consequence of that is having a significant impact on society, and it continues to cause a diminution in our culture of the importance of a marriage between a man and a woman. Traditional marriage will lose its significance and importance to society. Marriage redefined will mean marriage isn't important at all."

Reid said if legalized gay marriage continues, the definition of marriage would continue to expand.

"Judge Shelby opened the door for any and all types of marriages," Reid said. "It started with same-sex marriage, but clearly it won't stop there. If you open the door for marriages other than those between one man and one woman you open them to every kind of relationship. Say two women want to marry one man; what argument could you possibly make (for banning it) that wouldn't be discriminatory?"

Reid noted that on Dec. 13, a week before Shelby's ruling, Judge Clark Waddoup struck down a key portion of Utah's polygamy law that made cohabitation illegal. The plaintiffs were the Brown family of "Sister Wives" fame.

"That judge decriminalized polygamy," Reid said. "If you say traditional marriage is no longer the only type of marriage, how can you stop any form of marriage from being legal? If marriage has no meaning, there's no reason to have marriage."

Reid said the Stand for Marriage event -- at 7 p.m. and opened to the public -- is not one he organized, but he did help with some of the arrangements. Also speaking with be Sean Reyes, Utah's attorney general; Robert Oscar Lopez, who believes he was harmed by being raised by a same-sex couple; and Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage president and cofounder. Nicole Kay, Stand for the Family president; state Sen. Wayne Neiderhouser, R-Salt Lake; and Rep. LaVar Christensen, (R-Sandy/Draper, will offer comments as well.

Reid said his other efforts include several upcoming bills, still in the drafting stage. One is aimed at prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based on anything but work issues. It also prohibits discrimination in housing, he said, but does not create a "new protected class" by identifying specific groups that might benefit from protection.

In March 2013, Reid said he could not support an anti-discrimination bill the state Senate was then considering. That bill offered anti-discrimination guidelines in the treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender individuals in housing and workplace situations. That bill did not make it to the Senate floor.

Asked at the time if his personal belief that homosexuality is wrong was discriminatory, Reid said in his personal life, he does not, but public policy was another matter.

"I cannot advance policy that, frankly, gives societal acceptance of something I think is immoral," Reid said.

Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or nvan@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @S_ENancyVanV.

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