Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Unique Discussion between LGBT Supporters and Utah Legislators

by Brig Bagley

27 February 2014

Never done quite like this before, lawmakers and LGBT supporters sat in the same room to tell their stories, share their feelings, and appeal to their representatives. The hope of this meeting was to bring perspective and understanding to both sides of the issue, as well as to encourage senators to stand with and support equality.

Stories of a young LDS teen fearing discrimination in college, a transgender engineer that wishes to be defined by her skills and accomplishments and not here identity, and a gay man that was fired when discovered gay--each bringing to light the truth of what is really happening in Utah that needs to stop.

The original article has a number of compelling comments from both sides. Many argue that research disproving the commitment of gay people in recent years has been skewed or hushed, and that the boycotting of religions and companies that supported traditional marriage was just as hateful. But the truth of the matter is that feelings, beliefs, tradition, and morality do not matter in this issue. Government is not in existence to force morality. Morality is to be chosen, and all citizens protected in such a way that all can choose for themselves how to live what each believes is "moral". One great comment was given by username Ryan M.:

"Laws do not encourage nor discourage morality. If all you operate off of as to what is right and wrong is the law, then you live a sad life indeed. Laws are to offer basic protections. Every single civil right and privileged we enjoy comes with both negative and positive consequences. Laws are not setup to protect someone from abstract, indirect supposed societal harm. They are set up to stop someone from infringing upon your right to life, liberty and property. Supporting traditional marriage is not enacted through legislation. It comes through your actions and if you want to express your opinion and maybe start a group that supports traditional marriage, that is great, stand for what you believe, but allow others to do the same. When you try and legislate your morality you are neither standing for your morality or making a positive change. You just restrict someone else of the freedom to choose that for themselves. Morality has to come through choice, not force. Because to operate off of morals and values is of a higher order than to operate simply off of consequences. Gay people don't need to be punished for choosing to live what you believe is an immoral lifestyle. That is what these laws are really about. Making sure that they know, and society knows that this is immoral. That is not for you to decide for anyone other than yourself."

This event was truly helpful in having both parties come together and to listen to the real stories of real Utahns.

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