Thursday, May 29, 2014

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Admits Gay Marriage Might Win

by Brig Bagley

29 May 2014

Republican senator Orrin Hatch, on a radio interview this week, conceded that gay marriage will likely become the law of the land. Hatch is one of the first conservative Utah politicians to admit impending defeat on the subject of same-sex marriage. He even went as far as to commend the rulings of Judges Shelby and Kimball, saying they can't be blamed for ruling in congruence with the US Supreme Court. However, Hatch believes Shelby should have issued a stay on the ruling, and Hatch himself does not agree with rulings that favor gay marriage.

Hatch previously condoned separate, but equal civil unions for gay people just last year, but that was not mentioned during this interview. He did say that marriage laws should be completely in the hands of the states, and not decided by the federal government. He also fears the status of religion and religious freedom, now that so many people are leaving churches and fighting against them.

What is interesting here is that not too long ago in 2006, republicans pushed to make law a national definition of marriage in the US Constitution. The Federal Marriage Amendment, or the Marriage Protection Amendment, actually made it to the House and Senate to vote into law. However, the amendment was far from its required 2/3 majority to pass. So why are the republicans so adamant to make marriage a state issue when they wanted their "traditional" definition forced upon the entire US federally? When the FMA was going through congress, democrats were the voice saying marriage was a state issue. Now that gay marriage is being considered as a constitutional right through equal protection and due process for all minorities, the tables have turned.

Something in the early 2000s caused a number of states to vote or write into law either gay marriage bans, or more explicit definitions of marriage that were meant to exclude same-sex unions. At that time, gay rights were very young and not well-known. So, the majority of people had no problem voting these changes in, since it was something that seemed to make sense at the time. It was an interesting preemptive move to slow the gay rights movement... maybe not even entirely intentional. 

Now, thanks to the US Supreme Court, Prop 8 and DOMA were struck down, giving way for over a dozen federal judges to strike down the bans of early 2000 in the respective states. Prop 8 was the child of the LDS church, and gay proponents have the LDS church to thank for expediting the rulings that have led us to today. Although it was not the Mormons' intentions, they inadvertently helped the gay cause by appealing and fighting to the bloody end. DOMA was in response to how the federal government would treat same-sex marriages when performed in states where it was legal in 1996. It was put in to NOT recognize same-sex marriages federally even if legally performed in a state. Now both Prop 8 and DOMA are overturned, and the snowball is rolling into an avalanche of equal rights for LGBT individuals. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New BSA President Supports Gay Scouts/Leaders, Won't Reverse Last Year's Decision


by Brig Bagley

27 May 2014

Robert Gates, new President of the Boy Scouts of America, declared that he would have voted to allow gay scouts and leaders in the decision made last year. Gates was director of the CIA, and was hired by BSA to help save the organization from extinction. Enrollment has declined in recent year, much due to the people upset with the bans on gay people. On the flip side, those unhappy with gay scouts enrolling started their new anti-gay scouting, Trail Life USA. 

Gates, although he supports gay involvement, says he will not attempt to reverse the decision that was democratically made. Because BSA is volunteer-based, Gates believes making that change would cause enough disagreement to split the program, and that both groups would fail on their own.

Although it would be beneficial to have (open) gay leaders permitted to participate, it is a wise decision on Gate's part to hold off for now. The program needs to re-build in order to survive. Once society has matured enough, the issue can be revisited to reverse the decision made last year. Things like this take a long time, as seen with blacks and women. With a smart man like Gates at the BSA helm, there is no doubt that it will rebound and become the program it once was--without discrimination. 

President of Sutherland Institute Opinion: Fighting Marriage 'Equality'

by Brig Bagley

27 May 2014

Paul Mero is the president of the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank in Utah that is at the forefront of fighting Same-Sex Marriage legalization. 

Mero claims that traditional marriage is a pillar of the common good and general welfare of men, women and children. SSM is about adult selfishness, and if marriage can mean anything, it means nothing. SSM will damage the economy, but traditional marriage safer for all children, women, and men. Mero discredits any research on the success of same-sex parented families, claiming the data to be minimal and incomplete. Any family not meeting the traditional requirements suffers a handicap, some greater than others. Legalizing SSM institutionalizes dysfunction. "Intact traditional families are ballast for the common good in troubled times." Abandoning defense of traditional marriage is cultural suicide. 

There are several ignorant and offensive statements in Mero's words--and not only to homosexuals, but to heterosexuals as well. If any family does not have a married biological mother and father intact, it is not a traditional family. Any of these families is excluded in these statements as well. How does it make them feel when they are considered inferior families? And why isn't the institute fighting adultery, fornication, divorce, and single parent homes, since they are also non-traditional? There are a hundred fold more of these "families" that involve children than same-sex parent families. Shouldn't you spend time and money on the bigger problems?

Same-sex parent families have existed from the beginning. They will continue to exist, whether the government recognizes them or not. Depriving them of rights/privileges/whatever will not discourage homosexuality, but it will strip those children of safety that children of "traditional families" enjoy/take for granted. 

Dismissing research that indicates healthy child-rearing by same-sex parents is also ignorant. If a couple has to work as hard as same-sex parents do in order to even obtain children, it's only because the parents will provide a healthy and safe home for them. So many children are born to young, irresponsible heterosexual parents. They have no say who conceived them. How is their blunder better than children adopted by same-sex parents that actually want  them, and can afford them?

And the economy... gay people are the most likely to spend money and boost the economy. Patronizing Wal-Mart for the cheapest gear is the default for most people, especially penny-pinching Mormons. This does not encourage the economy, nor does it help the local businesses that depend on spenders to survive. Gay people tend to have more money because they rarely have children. Not only do they have no chance for accident pregnancies, but they responsibly choose to rear children when they have the means. Not to say that heterosexuals are inferior because they can't guarantee pregnant-free sex, but it is a perk for homosexuals to not have that worry. As a result, gay people will often have more money to indulge on their "nice things", boosting any economy. 

Sorry, Mero. You're not only hurting families with your claims, you're just wrong.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gov. Herbert Expresses His Opinion to Rationalize Fighting Gay Marriage

by Brig Bagley

23 May 2014

Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah says that being black and being gay are different, because people choose their sexual orientation, but not their skin color. He also states that gay attractions are "impulses" that people can choose not to act upon.

These were just two extremely offensive and ignorant messages that Herbert gave at his monthly address to the state this month. LGBT representatives expressed that his statements were hurtful and come from a lack of understanding. 

Not defending the gay marriage ban, according to Herbert, is a step towards anarchy. 

Gov. Herbert will fight this issues to the bitter end--either for his church, his wealthy supporters, or his personal religious stance, or all of the above. He is not here for the people. He's looking out for himself. If you have voted in Utah before, he has even sold your phone numbers and addresses to anyone willing to pay $1050. He conveniently excluded himself from the list. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pennsylvania Ends Same-Sex Marriage Ban 

Pennsylvania gay marriage ban struck down

by Brig Bagley

21 May 2014

Same-Sex couples in Pennsylvania can now immediately apply for marriage licenses. The state requires a 3 day waiting period before couples can marry, but that is for all marriages. A stay is not in place, but an appeal of the federal ruling is expected. The attorney general refuses to fight the ruling, but the republican governor will likely take on the job.

"The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees," Judge Jones wrote. "In the 60 years since Brown was decided, 'separate' has thankfully faded into history, and only 'equal' remains.... Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage. We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history." 

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dallin Oaks Imposes Anti-Gay-Marriage in New Zealand

by Brig Bagley

20 May 2014

A regional conference in New Zealand had Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks address them as a keynote speaker. In his address, Oaks re-emphasized the importance of man-woman marriage and that local laws do not change God's laws concerning a proper family unit. He stated that children are best reared by they two biological parents that conceived them. 

Members in the area were confused why they were being targeted for laws that they couldn't change. Same-sex marriage was legalized over a year ago in the country. Some members believed that the movements in the US motivated Oak's speech. Others thought he was upset because the members in New Zealand were clearly not as adamant about the topic as he was.

It is thought that when leaders broadcast to "foreign" countries, they should have public relations advice before addressing topics insensitively to a different community in the world. "Not only aspects of the topic can be understood quite differently in a foreign context, but also the style may disturb," says a Belgian Mormon.

It is well-known that the Mormon culture is extremely influenced by western society. Imposing such western ideas on other countries in the world has posed great problems to missionaries and leaders of the church in other areas. This culture-forcing often strips locals of their own culture and traditions that define them. Accepting same-sex marriage is a popular trend in other democratic societies around the world, and some cultures have had it integrated in their cultures for centuries. 

Soon, the LDS Church will be one of the last entities standing against marriage equality. They will either crumble from the dissent internally, or be forced to integrate the social change into doctrine to survive, as they have done before with polygamy and blacks.

Gay NFL Draft Gets Media Attention


by Brig Bagley 

20 May 2014

Micheal Sam is the first openly gay man to be drafted in the NFL. Although this doesn't indicate play time or success in his football career, this is certainly an important moment in the progress of American society. Similar to Jackie Robinson's entrance into pro-baseball, Sam will be an icon in the history books that will change the face of American sports.

Some wonder why this is news, or feel that the media is shoving the gay agenda down their throats. But similar complaints, if not worse ones, were thrown at players like Jackie Robinson, for "encroaching" on the "white sport". Because sports like the NFL are considered "manly sports," it stigmatized it from people that were gay. Gays weren't interested in participating in or watching sports where their lifestyle was inferior in that world.

Now that it has become acceptable for a gay person to participate in the NFL, gay people will be more likely to become sports fans. Perhaps this was a publicity stunt by the St. Louis Rams. Even so, other players will be more likely to come out, and more teams will be willing to draft gay players because of the positive affect it had in this one situation.

Utah Ordered to Recognize Gay Marriages

by Brig Bagley

20 May 2014

Another federal judge has ruled that Utah cannot refuse to provide marriage benefits to couples that were legally married in the state during the window it was allowed. The plaintiffs in the case were upset that the progress they had planned with their families, including adoptions, has been halted because of the State's unwillingness to recognize their marriages.

The case poses an interesting questions of whether these moves are redundant, or that they condone judicial activism and overreaching. Since the validity of the Judge Shelby ruling is in progress, this case is just reiterating what is already being reviewed. However, the ruling was meant to give the benefits to those awaiting them sooner than when the Amendment 3 case resolves, which could be over a year.

But again, all of these moves are by federal judges, not by the state, nor the people. Doesn't that make all of this forced outside law?

Ironically, the judge for this case is an active Mormon and LDS area authority. So you don't have to be an activist, godless liberal to support equality.

Is the will of the people being overthrown? In 2004, Amendment 3 passed in Utah with a 65% majority wishing to ban same-sex marriage. That is with a 57% voter turnout in the state. Polls taken this year with a sample size of 746 Utahns, the approval of same-sex marriage is almost evenly split. Is the will of the people still largely against gay marriage? Not anymore. It would be interesting to see what a vote would reveal today.

Since public opinion has changed, the movements of federal judges is not entirely out of order. Because the officials of Utah wish to uphold laws with outdated approval, the federal courts are enforcing the change that would happen anyway. Why force it sooner? Well, there are over 1000 families that are depending on the benefits. That's why.

This ruling is stayed for 21 days pending appeal from the state. Appeal is expected, although no word has yet come from state offices.

Read more here:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Utah Supreme Court Grants Halt of Same-Sex Adoptions

by Brig Bagley

19 May 2014

The Utah Supreme Court sides with Utah AG Office in halting progress of same-sex couple adoption cases. Because federal courts were not granting the halt, AG Sean Reyes petitioned the local judicial system to grant his request--at odds with federal demands.

Utah Supreme Court issued the stay, explaining that until the confusion regarding the legality of same-sex marriage is resolved, all related issues are to be put on hold. Supporters of the stay say that the stay is to seek clarification as to whether issuing the adoptions violates Utah's currently held law that prohibits same-sex marriages.

Other believe that this move humiliates same-sex families and the AG office should be held in contempt in court for causing damage to families wishing to adopt. The AG office and 2 health department officials were summoned to a hearing to explain why they are not following the district court's order.

Read more here:

Oregon Marriage for Same Sex Couples PASSED -- Fought by Outside Organization NOM

by Brig Bagley

19 May 2014

Since the state of Oregon refused to fight the striking down of the ban on marriage for gay couples, its legalization was expected. However, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) asked the courts for an emergency stay so it could represent Oregon in an appeal to the ruling against the ban. The request was denied, and the ruling has just been made to approve marriages for same sex couples.

Marriage licenses will be issued in 3 days, except for emergencies, for which a few might be issued as early as today.

Friday, May 16, 2014

"We are One" Video Promotes Equality

by Brig Bagley

16 May 2014

This is my 5th post today, so you may need to visit the blog page to catch up on what you might have missed. I wanted to promote the "We are One" video, created and produced by Jonathan Adamson, a friend of mine, for the Southern Utah Equality Utah dinner. I have already mentioned it, but you may have missed it.

The video has stirred positive emotions in many, and I encourage you to watch it (about 8 minutes). It is well done, and superbly encapsulates the fight for equality.

Christians Promote "Traditional Family Values" Documentary

by Brig Bagley

16 May 2014

Focus on the Family is promoting a documentary by a New Zealand man that believes traditional values are "Irreplaceable". He wishes to prove that the shifting and declining of moral values have negatively affected societies around the world.

There are a two screenings today that were added because of the "overwhelming support" with the previous screenings earlier this month.

Focus on the Family has (ironically), in the past, has criticized LDS people and the LDS religion for not being true Christians. It has censored LDS authors, de-Christianized Mitt Romney, called Joseph Smith a liar, and claimed Mormons to be deceived by demons. However, when it comes to gay marriage, Focus on the Family is all too happy to rally the support of a million Mormons to shut it down.

If you're LDS and considering attending the screening, keep these thoughts in mind.

Read more here:

Idaho Gets its Temporary Stay from Allowing Gay Marriage

by Brig Bagley

16 May 2014

The 9th District Court issues a temporary stay for gay marriage in Idaho, pending the approval of the state officials' appeal of the federal court ruling by Judge Candy Dale. The stay was granted under the frantic pleas of the state because the ruling stated that Idaho would have had to issue same-sex marriage licenses 9 a.m. this morning had it not been granted.

The arguments, statements, and anger is all the same we have heard before. Although issuing a stay avoids the confusion that Utah experienced, there are still hundreds of couples that are damaged by having to wait longer for the rights they wish to have. Dale saw it this way, although conservatives believe it is a "power hungry" move to not issue a stay, making the statement that "their ruling is right and no other way is right". But Dale was thinking of the citizens in Idaho that were being harmed. Allowing the marriages in no way harms any other person in the state, other than making them "uncomfortable" and forcing them to respect those they don't agree with.

Read more here:

Male Babysitters --- Positive to All


by Brig Bagley

16 May 2014

This article on KSL rang some important bells for me with the LDS and gay mixed background I have. It is a common stigma, especially in Utah, that males (teens especially) are prone to hormones, sex, and molesting children. But this article decides to debunk that perception with facts. There are plenty of misconceptions of boys that have actually harmed progress for both families as well as these teen boys.

I was myself, a male teen babysitter for a few families. I was used repeatedly between middle school and high school with a few families. The kids were mainly male, but there were a few female children, too. Being gay didn't weigh in the equation at that time, since I denied that part of me. But it surprises me that male sitters are avoided simply because a paranoid parent thinks that every teenage boy is out to rape children.

This paranoia only adds to the problem. If male teens are told they are at risk of raping kids, they will believe it, and will be more likely do it. Similar to the judicial system, don't make someone guilty until they have proven guilty. Sure, you are taking a risk, but as the article suggests, you are more at risk with family members and strangers than a sitter. The comments even mention that girls are more prone to ignore kids by texting, putting the kids in potential danger. 

It is also worthy to note that males can bring another perspective to the children, often being more playful and creative. Males tend to be able to focus more, and have more difficulty multitasking as well, which causes them to focus more on the children, giving them more attention. This isn't a blanket truth, but it is very common.

The article also notes how giving male teens an opportunity to be with children can help them grow to be better fathers. It emphasizes how men can be nurturing and caring as well. Males need to learn how to raise and care for children just as women. Removing males from children promotes the idea that men are helpless with care-taking. If a man believes he is helpless with children, he WILL avoid the children, depriving kids of their needed father experiences. 

To extract the article even further, this message positively shows that a gay couple can have all of the necessary attributes to raise children. Males can be nurturing, which falsifies the "role of the mother" that the LDS religion claims. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", a Mormon document endlessly quoted by Mormons, simply states that women primarily  children at home, while men provide, protect, and preside over the family. This is the only differentiation between the genders. Every other statement in the document is gender non-specific and can be accomplished by anyone, minus the small fact that homosexuality is considered immoral by religious decree only. This article accurately claims that this perception of men is unhealthy and wrong to males.

Although the author probably didn't intend for this to be extrapolated from the article, it brings to light a separate perspective that invalidates the LDS stigma of homosexuality, falsifying its scientifically unsound claims.

Attorney General of Utah is Scrutinized for Fighting Gay Adoptions


by Brig Bagley

16 May 2014

A district judge is ordering Sean Reyes, Utah AG to explain his movements to revoke adoptions filed by legally married same-sex parents. Utah officials are said to be "in open violation to a court order" and should be "held in contempt in the court" for their decisions. 

It is illegal to reverse any legal adoptions because of the harm it causes to families and their children. Utah didn't comply with this when seeking to sue the judge that approved the changing of the parents of a child's birth certificate. Utah claims it is acting in the interest of the state to avoid the confusion with the pending same-sex marriage decision.

The truth is that the state could have focused on other more important matters and let these situations be. If same-sex marriage is made legal, Utah would have to undo its undoing. The move is solely to gain approval of conservative voters and to follow personal religious dictates. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Are Homosexual Feelings Unnatural?

by Brig Bagley

15 May 2014

Sure, the majority of people tend to be straight. But is it learned, or from birth? Scientists, scholars, and religious leaders have argued this point countless times. Gays cannot naturally reproduce, but does that mean their feelings are unnatural? Are they just sick minded people that wish to indulge on an unpopular fetish? 

If you ask any gay person why they're gay, they'll probably just glare at you. "I didn't choose this" is the resounding response. "When did you choose to be straight?" Why would anyone go against the norm in society for fun to only be rejected, ridiculed, beat up, and sometimes killed? It's downright ignorant to claim that homosexuality is unnatural or goes against the laws of nature. Gay people aren't made, they are born.Heterosexuals continue to produce homosexuals. They are not going to die out. 

"Gay feelings" used to be considered to stem from things like being molested or daddy issues. But the American Psychiatric Association has removed homosexuality from the list of disorders. Religion and "morality" aside, science tells us it is a force outside the control of the individual. Nature has decided to allow homosexual people into the world. And they will not stop coming as long as heterosexuals continue to reproduce. Perhaps homosexuality is nature's way of population control.

Whatever the reason, nature has created homosexuals. It is just as natural as Joe having sexual attractions to Jane. It is still a natural drive that comes from the body's need to reproduce, only same-sex couples don't have the parts to succeed on their own. The need and ability to raise children and have a family CAN still occur in same-sex relationships, though. These are still natural feelings. Adoption, surrogacy, or egg/sperm donation are common in straight couples, so why can't gays do it too?

Homosexuality is just as natural in origin as heterosexuality. Both can contribute equally to society as well as create families. Just because homosexuality is unnatural to you DOESN'T mean it's unnatural to them or unnatural in general. Calling gays unnatural is ignorance and fear of what you don't know.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Idaho will recognize same sex marriage 

By Brig Bagley

13 May 2014

Idaho is the next victory. Starting this Friday, Idaho will be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Like in Utah, the federal judge did not issue a stay for the ruling, and also added that unless there is federal interference, the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. 

Judge Candy Dale ruled that there was great harm and damage to the plaintiffs--4 same-sex couples--and all same-sex couples in the state. In the ruling, she stated that there is no evidence to suggest that heterosexual couples are healthier for children, nor that same-sex marriage would cause harm to heterosexual couples and families. She dismissed the defendant's (Idaho's Gov. Otter) claims that (1) heterosexual marriage focused on children instead of the "emotional interests of adults" and (2) same-sex marriage violates protected religious liberties. Because not all religions consider opposite-sex marriage imperative, it is discriminatory to exclude same-sex couples from marriage.

Many complain that the will of 1 federal judge has overturned the will of the majority, but now we have reached over a dozen federal judges that share the same sentiment. Can a dozen highly respected and extremely experienced judges all be so wrong? All of these judges use the same reasoning for their ruling, which stemmed from the rulings of the US Supreme Court--the highest court of our nation. It's not a just a few liberal people calling the shots. It's a huge number of extremely intelligent justices appointed by leaders that the majority of people voted into office. Indirectly, the people of the nation appointed these justices to keep the country checked and balanced from tyranny majority rule.

If you don't like the system, move out. But no one should have to move out because they cannot live the reasonable and happy life they wish because of the laws in place. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Southern Utah Equality Utah Dinner in St. George, UT

Photo: Anticipation.  Equality Utah 2014

by Brig Bagley

12 May 2014

Colored lights on the banquet room ceiling resembled the typical beautiful St. George sunset for guests at the Equality Utah dinner on Saturday, May 10. Over 450 proponents of LGBT rights and progress showed their support with auctions and donations for the cause. A delicious dinner and a moving presentation was the center of the evening for all who attended. 

Storyteller Janice Brooks was the MC for the night, adding a song "We are One" with her son to energize the crowd. Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest for the Episcopal Church, was the keynote speaker for the evening, proposing that the merging of Christianity and LGBT people is not the oxymoron both sides believe it is.

St. George's Planned Parenthood was also featured as a positive force in helping and protecting people, including LGBT citizens. They promoted their belief in responsible, safe, fun, and good sex.

Jonathan Adamson produced the key feature presentation of the night, the capstone to the theme, "We are One." A standing ovation lauded the video at its conclusion. You can watch the video at the link below: 

Emotions and love was high at the dinner. It celebrated the unprecedented progress in equal rights for LGBT people, as well as the progress that is bound to come in the next year.

Arkansas Issues Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

by Brig Bagley

12 May 2014

Another federal judge ruled a ban of same-sex marriage in Arkansas unconstitutional. Similar to Utah, the judge did not issue a stay, and several Arkansas same-sex couples lined up at clerks' offices to marry. The state's AG seeks a stay for the ruling, which will likely occur by at least the US Supreme Court, as they granted the same stay for Utah in January. 

Proponents of same-sex marriage have intelligently targeted some of the most conservative and religious states to initiate equality cases: Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas among them. If the most conservative and combatant states are forces to recognize same-sex marriages and issue them, other states will naturally fall in line. When the cases reach the US Supreme Court, it is even possible for any bans on same-sex marriage in any state to become illegal, making it nationally legal.

Either way, the writing is on the wall. Marriages will be available for all adult couples in the US.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mormons Building Bridges Rejected from Days of '47 Parade

Mormons Building Bridges rejected by Days of ’47 parade

by Brig Bagley

8 May 2014

Pioneer Day Parade organizers don't believe LGBT people are part of the future in Utah, despite the theme "Pioneers-Pushing Toward our Future". The (MBB) group is considered to support a cause that is "inappropriate" for the parade, causing them to reject their application. 

Since the theme MBB wishes to promote is "Celebrating Utah's LGBT/SSA Pioneers," the group fits in perfectly. MBB is disappointed, and wishes for people who know sponsors for the parade to contact them and ask them to reconsider MBB's application. The site of sponsors and the MBB request is here: 

I sent a letter to the president of KSL TV, Darrell Brown, an old family friend of mine. The message is below. Feel free to repeat my words when you approach others who can influence this change.

Hi Darrell!

I know this is out of the blue, but I feel like reaching out to you directly would be the best way to share my thoughts. You knew me for many years in my youth. I also was good friends with your daughter, Lauren. I'm hoping I left a positive image so that my words today can hold weight in your mind. 
I am part of a minority in Utah that wishes to amiably coexist with the LDS majority. is a group of extremely respectable LDS people that represent and empathize with both LGBT and Mormon people and wish to unify them.

Recent events have the raised hackles for both parties considering the differences of opinions, but the truth is that both parties need to try to understand each other and respect each other. MormonsBuildingBridges (MBB) is one of the first groups to do that.

The committee for the Days of '47 Parade have rejected MBB's application to participate in the parade on Pioneer Day claiming that its subject matter was not appropriate for the parade. But I argue that it is perfectly appropriate.

MBB wishes to recognize the LGBT pioneers in Utah that have suffered and struggled for recognition, freedom, and sometimes for life. In addition, a huge number of the LGBT people in Utah come from strong, pioneer-originated LDS families. The world is changing and finally these people can come out of the framework without the same social rejection that existed just a few short years ago.

The message MBB wishes to share is not about sexuality. It's about those Utahns who struggle to reconcile their strong LDS background and their conflicting identities, but have forged forward to succeed in life despite it all. It is also to bring awareness to Utah that LGBT and LDS people can live harmoniously and love and accept each other and their differences.

MBB has marched in 2 SLC Pride Parades, as well as countless others across the country. The group includes entire families that wish to support their LGBT family member. They are happy, smiling, respectful LDS people.

I ask that with your influence as President of KSL TV, that you please encourage parade organizers to reconsider and allow this group to march in the parade on Pioneer Day. It would be a positive and hopeful message, not only to so many LGBT Utahns, but to their struggling families and friends. It would also help soften the hearts of those who do not yet understand the struggles of so many LGBT pioneers in Utah.
Respectfully yours,
Brig Bagley


Friday, May 2, 2014

University of Utah Chooses Lesbian Student to Speak at Graduation

by Brig Bagley

2 May 2014

Although it shouldn't be a big deal, I believe it was. Usually graduation ceremonies have the student with the highest GPA speak for the gradating class, talented speaker or not. Sometimes, it's even the most popular student. The speeches can be uninspired, immature, or just boring. But the University of Utah asked undergraduates to submit essays for review and selection in order to determine the student speaker for the 2014 Graduation Ceremony. They certainly made the right choice this year.

I, myself, attended the ceremony as a Master's Graduate in Computer Science. I wouldn't have attended any of the ceremonies had my parents not been interested in coming to celebrate with me. I'm glad I did attend.

Janine Henry, although she did have a high GPA, was not the valedictorian. She was selected from the panel unanimously from her submitted essay to address the students, faculty, friends, and family at the general commencement. I was expecting the typical Mormon girl, married with 2-3 kids. I was sure an LDS reference or plug would be in her speech somewhere. But she shocked me, as I'm sure many others, at the mention of her fiancee, a girl, who has been diagnosed with bone cancer. 

Her speech discussed how she struggled to balance time with her potentially terminally-ill girlfriend and her education. She worried she was not going to make it, but standing in front of her peers and her fiancee in the crowd, she could confidently state that the struggle was worth it. 

Why was this a big deal to me? First, I thought a Mormon saturated school would choose your typical Mormon student to represent the class. But not only did they choose someone not Mormon, they chose a lesbian. BUT, I don't believe being a lesbian had anything to do with it. And that is the second reason I thought it was a big deal. Janine qualified to speak because of her talent in writing (and speaking as it turns out), her inspiring story, and her academic accomplishment. 

BYU graduation DID, however, select Megan Hirschi, a common LDS returned missionary to speak. Although I'm sure she is a talented, accomplished girl, her typical Mormon story will never be as inspiring as those from people like Janine Henry.

Janine is a strategic communications major. She will resume her education in the University of Tampa in Florida to pursue a Master's in Marketing. 

Read more here: 

Utah Attorney General Candidate Seeks Reform

A candid conversation with Utah Attorney General candidate Charles Stormont

by Brig Bagley

2 May 2014

Charles Stormont, a current employee of present Attorney General Sean Reyes, seeks the position of AG and wishes to change the way Utah's AG office functions. A Democrat, Stormont stands against a hard crowd of conservatives and republicans, but thinks that his views and policies can better represent what the people of Utah deserve. 

When interviewed, Stormont was very open with his plans and policies. He wishes the AG office to return to its intended purpose of a law firm as a opposed to its current status as a policy maker. He also wants to put up protections against scandals that lead to the resignation of previous AG John Swallow (who was reportedly involved with ethical and criminal charges). Stormont sees many of the actions taken by Sean Reyes as unnecessary, wasteful, and wrong. 

Reyes is pushing for the defense of Amendment 3 in Utah that bans same-sex marriage. Over $2 million of tax-payer dollars has already been spent hiring outside lawyers to defend the ban using arguments Stormont believes are neither strong nor convincing. Reyes has also filed to block adoptions of same-sex couples. when asked why he was tearing apart families, Reyes claimed he was only seeking to clarify the law. Stormont wonders why then "did he file to block adoptions?". 

This November we will see if Stormont will make it into office. He wishes to do the right thing, which he believes is not currently being done. Utah's government needs more variety in the mix. It's currently saturated with right wing (often LDS) people that fail to meet the needs of the non-LDS minorities.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

BYU Survey Omits "Gay" Option for Sexual Preference

byu survey

by Brig Bagley

1 May 2014

Question #8 has since been revised to "Do you experience same-sex attraction? Yes, no, or other." But the fact still remains that even after backlash, Church leaders fail to give members an option to identify as gay, lesbian, or otherwise. Yes, it does say Other, but that just plain "homosexual" was not initially included as an explicit option means the survey creators don't want to acknowledge the existence of gay people. 

The survey is targeted at Millennial generation students attending BYU, likely in response to the enormously large support of LGBT rights among this age group. Despite, gay is still not an option for Mormons. And the BYU policies and church policies for acting on homosexual behavior have also not changed: 

"Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.
One's stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings."

Religious Freedom Argument Turned on its Head

JR Joaquin joins marchers in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in celebration after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

by Brig Bagley

1 May 2014

The United Church of Christ in North Carolina is suing the state for banning same-sex marriages. Why? This religious group wishes to sanction and provide unions for same-sex couples. Because of the state ban, if clergy does perform the union, they are liable for arrest.

This takes the entire Religious Freedom argument and turns it upside down. Protesters to same-sex marriage wish to use religious freedom to staunch its legalization due to the belief of it being sinful. Punishing people for refusing to provide services to those they believe to live sinful lives supposedly violates their religious freedom. But according to this church in North Carolina, same-sex marriage bans violate their  religious freedom.

This story brings to light that religion can't be used to trump every situation. Freedom of religion only works if the freedoms do not contradict each other. If my religion believes in human sacrifice, my freedom is limited because killing is not legal. If my religion believes all other religions are wrong, including non-religion, I cannot use my religious freedom to force my beliefs on another. I simply practice my own religion, and allow others to practice theirs.

High church leaders of the nation disagree with this United Church of Christ in NC. They say that it doesn't represent the majority of religion in the country, and that it seems like a publicity stunt. They use the majority tradition of man-woman marriages across the world as their backup. But if the USA claims religious freedom for all, does that matter? What if my personal religion requires legal same-sex marriage for some reason? Why must my freedom be trumped by the majority? I shouldn't have to move to practice my religion. That was the whole reason the USA was founded.

Will the religious freedom argument stand? The federal judges have yet to call a ruling on the Oklahoma and Utah cases regarding same-sex marriage bans. We'll have to wait and see.

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