We're very pleased that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out in support of anti-discrimination measures that were adopted by Salt Lake City. The measures specifically protect the rights of gay and transgender residents in regards to housing and employment.
To do that's a no-brainer, and we're glad the church made a very public, very significant pitch of support for the laws. The fact that it's such big news in Utah, though, underscores the dysfunctions regarding equality for all that still exist in our state. The LDS Church should have made this statement years ago.
The church, which reached the endorsements decision after months of meetings with gay rights activists, is correct that the Salt Lake City ordinances "are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage," as stated by LDS Church spokesman Michael Otterson.
Let's face it, the LDS Church endorsement carries a lot of weight. The church is a powerful force here. We urge church leaders to go a step further and actively endorse the "Common Ground" initiatives that would extend the legal rights Salt Lake City adopted to all Utah gay and transgendered residents. "Common Ground," of course, was quickly slapped down by the Legislature's political leadership earlier this year.
The new laws, and the church's statement of support, are clear evidence that one can both support traditional marriage while defending the legal and constitutional rights of gays and transgendered people. The "slippery slope" argument that assuring the rights of a human being leads to a further extension of the "gay agenda" is just plain nonsense.
However, we need to be prepared for efforts by many to pitch the "slippery slope" argument. The conservative think tank, The Sutherland Institute, has already urged the Utah Legislature to overturn Salt Lake City's measures. The group said in a release, "Unfortunately, homosexual activists seeking to redefine the meaning of marriage -- as well as activist courts seeking to do the same -- do not view these types of ordinances singly or in isolation, but as a pattern of public opinion to justify radical changes to law as we saw in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont."
This is Utah. To oppose a much-needed equality measure because of political strife elsewhere is an exaggeration that appeals to intemperate minds. There are a few of those minds in the Utah Legislature. Those who support equal rights for our Utah neighbors need to keep a watch on our Legislature and make sure there's no successful attempt to repeal the Salt Lake City Council's commendable decision.