As part of the LGBT community's counter-initiative against the Church of Latter Day Saints — whose message in California has been that marriage is the only right it thinks gay people shouldn't be entitled to — a group of advocates and legislators in Utah has decided to take them at their word. State Senator Scott McCoy and two lesbian colleagues — with the help of Equality Utah — plan to introduce legislation in Utah in January that will codify other rights afforded to LGBT individuals in California that the LDS swore it supported.McCoy's legislation will remove a prohibition from Utah's constitution against civil unions, expand protections for same sex couples in health care, insurance, and estate decisions and eliminate discrimination in housing and employment — all of which are laws on the books in California that the LDS Church said it didn't support eliminating and touted as the reason that same-sex couples should have the right to marry yanked denied to them. The Church, naturally, has no comment on the pending legislation, but Utah is one of now 4 states that prohibits same sex couples from adopting following the passage of a ban in Arkansas on Election Day. In fact, there are some in the LGBT community who are now saying that the state institution of marriage — which provides couples with certain contractual rights and responsibilities — should be far from the only right that the LGBT community focuses on pursuing. From the need to continue to fight for laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, to seeking legal requirements for domestic partnership benefits to fighting laws that prohibit same sex couples from adopting or participating in foster care, there are plenty of rights beyond marriage that the state and federal governments have seen fit to deny Americans based on who they choose to share their lives — and their beds — with. And it all sucks equally bad — and if every dollar of funding seeking to expand or maintain rights for the LGBT community floods into the effort to get the courts there to overturn the ballot initiative on technical grounds, the fundies will keep advancing their agenda to deny as many rights as possible to the LGBT community — which is what they're seeking to do, LDS hypocrisy in California notwithstanding. Gay Leaders in Utah Plan 5-Bill Attack in Legislature [NY Times] Activists Rethink Their Gay-Marriage Tactics [Time] Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged [Washington Post]
You know what? As painful as it was to wake up on Wednesday morning and see that Prop. 8 had passed, I'm more and more believing that this has provoked a crisis in the gay rights movement that will prove to be beneficial. People are galvanized in a way they haven't been before, both by that defeat and by the hope for ultimate success that Obama's election has given us. People are recognizing that we could be employing smarter, more effective methods of getting our message across and achieving our goals. We will learn from this, and we will keep moving, and we shall and will overcome.