Fata Morgana (chimerically) wrote,
Fata Morgana
chimerically

Punish supporters and Mormon church, but not Utah, for Prop. 8

Like many, I'm ashamed of the very slim California majority who voted Proposition 8, which amends the California constitution to discriminate against same-sex couples in not allowing them to marry. Similar propositions were passed in Florida and Arizona, and anemone has told me about a new law in Arkansas that prevents same-sex couples from fostering or adopting children (and the group in favor has the hubris to claim that it doesn't discriminate because non-married hetero couples also can't foster, never mind that same-sex couples don't have a *way* of marrying in Arkansas!).

And like many, I'm angered by the Mormon Church's large and heavy-handed role in the "Yes on 8" campaign and other similar discrimination campaigns around the country. The Mormon Church has done these sorts of things for years in Utah politics, and I grew up often feeling helpless frustration as the church "unofficially" encouraged their members to prop up intolerant policies or support bigoted, closed-minded politicians. So I'm so happy that the church is finally being called to task for it on a large scale, and support both calls to challenge their legal standing in getting involved in political campaigns as a church and nonprofit (though they've been rebuffing these arguments for years) and their moral and ethical right meddling with topics that arguably don't really concern them. I encourage challenges or boycotts of the Yes on 8 donors. As the bloggers at Bitch, PhD put it,
Their protestations that they are within their "right" to participate in the Democratic process just infuriates more. Of course they are within their rights. That's not the point. The point is that they nakedly used the people they lead, people who put trust and love in them, to further a political goal that is hateful. In an organization that talks about love more than any other I've ever known.


But I adamantly don't support a boycott of the entire state of Utah. One reason is that boycotting Utah tourism would ironically most hurt the most liberal parts of Utah, particularly Utah's three primary tourist destinations: Salt Lake City (Utah's capital and the gateway to most of Utah's ski resorts), Park City (the site of many ski resorts and of Sundance Film Festival, which the Mormon church would probably be happy to see fail), and Moab (the town just outside of Arches National Park). Salt Lake City had one of the most liberal mayors in the country, Rocky Anderson, from 1999 to 2007 (and he probably would have been re-elected had he decided to run for a third term). Rocky has come to the anti-war protests (including one for which I was in town) and has been consistent in his criticism of the Bush administration (and support for impeachment of Bush). He supports the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and gay marriage rights. And he was supported by the majority of Salt Lake City residents. I don't know as much about the politics of Park City or Moab, but I know they support liberal policies and politicians when voting, just like Salt Lake City does. And so I ask the boycotters, is this really what you want to be punishing?

By boycotting Utah, you'll hurt the most liberal parts of Utah much worse than the Mormon church. Boycott the actual Proposition 8 supporters (or support the detractors), put political and moral pressure on the Mormon Church, and, of course, work to ensure that Proposition 8 gets thrown out as the discrimination that it is, but don't misguidedly boycott the tourist destinations -- which are also the most liberal areas -- of an entire state.
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