Sutherland Institute hosts meeting of ‘Sacred Ground Initiative'

Comments on this report can be left at KSL here

Be sure to check out Eric Ethington's SACRED GROUND Meeting Recap.

As well as The Salt Lake Tribune's coverage:

'Sacred Ground' vs. 'Common Ground': 600 meet over gay-rights concerns, two-dozen protest

KCPW podcast with the Sutherland Institute's Bill Duncan and Stan Rasmussen.

Sacred Ground, the movie, courtesy of the Sutherland Institute:

A couple of random blog mentions:

Towleroad: Religious Conservatives Gather to Oppose Gay Rights in Utah

Light Bulbs: In Utah, Bigotry is Sacred

And a few random thoughts from my side: Opponents of the Common Ground Initiative will increasingly turn to appeals to nativism to justify their opposition to measures that most Utahns would likely consider innocuous and that nearly as many Utahns would probably find so commonsensical and fair as to wonder why they'd not been implemented earlier. To counter such apparent reasonableness on the part of pro-equality forces, a campaign will be waged to paint the proponents of the CGI as transplants, imports, aliens - or worse, Californians - bringing hidden agendas and extravagant lifestyles. Among the initial responses to this campaign will be understandable howls of indignation from Utah activists at such an undeserved characterization, but the sad fact is that the contest will be lost before it's begun if it winds up being fought solely on the ground - on the sacred ground - of defending local identity.

"We're Utahns, too" isn't going to cut it. Rather, the case needs to be made for why and how modest progress toward finding common ground now will translate into substantial benefits for the entire state later. To that end, local activists should increase their outreach to national organizations and constituencies with any ability to lend a hand, and not allow the confrontation to devolve into a family squabble in the face of nativist posturing by Chris Buttars, Gayle Ruzicka, LaVar Christensen and the like, who've already begun to exploit your instinctive urge to prove your Utah bona fides.

Don't be drawn in. This is about Utah's political leadership proving its American bona fides.

And speaking of leadership and bona fides, my initial impression of Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero is that he's a bonafide nutcase.

That is, until I started reading several of Paul's speeches, and realized that we actually agree on the absurdity of expending political energy to deny a powerful force of attraction that we all know exists. As Paul notes:

"We might wish away gravity; indeed, we might create a whole political movement toward that end."

But that would be plumb crazy, wouldn't it, Paul?

Kinda like wishing away the existence of our gay children, neighbors and fellow citizens.

I mean, only a complete ignoramus would attempt to promote a politics that depends on denying that these folks even exist, right? Which is why I marvel that after more than a decade spent promoting your agenda, Paul, that is still the best you can come up with:
"The grand delusion is that you truly believe there is this human called 'gay' ... you all believe you’re born that way ... That’s just nonsense."
Good luck wishing it away, Paul. Good luck wishing away tax-paying, law-abiding Utah residents who have as much right to fair treatment under the law as you do.

By the way, I've got a question about one of your staff: David Kirby wouldn't happen to have a brother, Dan, who serves as Mayor Pro Tem out in Monrovia, California, would he? Just curious. I had a brief correspondence with Dan Kirby during the Prop 8 campaign, some questions about his lucrative work for Ron Prentice and the California Family Council in the run-up to that contest. Lots of folks feeding at the trough of anti-gay antipathy, aren't there, Paul? With so many rewarding lines of work to choose from, I'll always wonder what's behind your particular career choice. Or maybe you'd argue it's the kind of thing you were born for?

OK, that was fun, but I'll now stop pretending I'm addressing Paul directly.

Can't say enough good things about this blog. If you're following events in Utah surrounding the Common Ground Initiative, check it out.

And then check this out:

Utah Hoping for Hollywood Dollars.

Really? For some reason, I was under the impression that Utah was all about keeping us decadent Hollywood types as far away from that pretty great state as possible.

Admittedly, the Utah legislature might be right that dangling the carrot of tax incentives could be all that's required to get our producers to cave and overlook the odd bit of local Utah discrimination against their creative talent.

That said, why can't Utah simply ask Paul Mero, LaVar Christensen, Chris Buttars and Gayle Ruzicka to kindly exit stage left and allow Utah to naturally become an ideal locale for shooting our feature films?

Zero-sum knuckle-draggers. The bunch of them. The only way they understand winning is for us to lose. No concept of win-win. No ability to recognize that our wanting to feel good about doing business with Utah in no way implies that we want them to feel bad about carrying on with their own lives as they see fit.

They're a drag on the entire state. How long is it gonna take before Utahns themselves recognize this?

Parting thought: Based on what I've seen wandering around online, I suspect that Paul Mero spends a good part of each day either googling his own name or following up all the Google Alerts that land in his Inbox under the header "Paul Mero" ... Seriously. That's 90% of the guy's job description right there. Am I wrong, Paul?

Anyway, who cares what Paul thinks? Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has now come out in support of both the Common Ground Initiative and civil unions.


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    News and views on NOM, marriage equality and the Mormon church from a former LDS missionary. This site is not affiliated with The National Organization for Marriage or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. © Copyright 2009 by Chino Blanco. All Rights Reserved.

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