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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Punishing Utah for Prop. 8

By Kelly Brinkerhoff

November 10, 2008 | Voting for it you are against it, and voting against it you are for it. That is how the sunshiny state of California had to vote Nov. 5 when deciding if Proposition 8 was the right thing to do.

Sad news, the proposition passed. Times have changed in America, so what's the big deal about same-sex marriage? Apparently it is a big deal to the churchgoing voters in California and to organized religions in America. Because the proposition passed, does it give gay marriage supporters the right to threaten others with hate and violence?

Out of 500,000 votes, 52.5 percent said yes to the proposition and 47.5 percent said no. This decision has banned the right of gay and lesbian couples to legally marry in California. Marriage is now defined as a heterosexual act, which has overruled the state Supreme Court's decision that allowed same-sex marriage to briefly exist.

18,000 gay and lesbian couples who married last spring are now waiting for the courts to decide if their marriage will soon be non-existent. The ones who were legally married shouldn't have it taken away from them. After all, it was legal when they got hitched.

Next to the presidential election this year, Proposition 8 was the most expensive and controversial campaign in America. Supporters for and against same sex marriage combined spent more than $75 million on the campaign. Spending that amount of money on this cause seems a little absurd considering the state at which our economy is in right now.

Some of the supporters for Proposition 8 were evangelical Christians, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the Roman Catholic Church. These churches put forth massive amounts of money and encouraged their members to spread the word to vote for the proposition by knocking on doors and passing out pamphlets to the community. In fact, the LDS Church threw down a whopping $22 million plus in effort to pass it. The Catholic Church doesn't endorse a particular candidate, but they do give the church's perspective on issues in America. The LDS and Catholic churches don't agree on everything, but Proposition 8 is one thing they do agree on.

Many people are attacking the churches for getting involved and lobbying their position on the proposition. People are protesting outside of LDS temples, threatening to burn down the churches in response to the success of Proposition 8. Is it fair for the gay rights supporters or anyone else to have a problem with Christian churches to voice their opinion on what they preach?

Not only are people lashing out at the LDS Church, gay rights activists are deliberately trying to punish Utah for the LDS Church's involvement. "At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one," said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential blogger in Washington, D.C. Aravosis is asking that Hollywood directors and actors refrain from the Sundance Film Festival, which is held in Park City, Utah once a year. He is also telling skiers to choose any other place to ski than Utah. Aravosis states, "The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand," he said. "At this point, honestly, we're going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state."

Salt Lake City is the headquarters for the LDS Church with about 62 percent of Utah residents being members; only 2 percent of California residents are members of the church. Just because of the location of the LDS headquarters, Aravosis is deliberately trying to ruin the tourism industry in Utah.

70 percent of African American voters in California, who once felt victims of discrimination, voted to discriminate against gays and lesbians who want to marry. Yes that is true, but religion has a greater impact on people, especially in the African American Community, which accounts for 6 percent of the California state population and 12 percent of the national population.

I am heterosexual and I am all about couples expressing their love for each other and wanting to marry that person, whether you are gay, lesbian, or straight. However, violent threats should never be made towards people or organizations who are lobbying for what they believe in whether it be for or against Proposition 8.


Copyright 1997-2008 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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