Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on February 19, 2009
Tonight, Equality Utah had a full debate with the Sutherland Institute on the validity and correctness of the Common Ground Initiative bills.
For Equality Utah, the panelists were Cliff Rosky, Lee Beckstead, Senator Scott McCoy and Will Carlson. For Sutherland, Paul Mero, LeVar Christensen, Shirley Cox and Bill Duncan.
There isn’t much to say here, it happened almost exactly as so many predicted. Sutherland voiced a call for the importance of civility multiple times during the night, and yet it was their President who made some of the most hateful comments of the night.
“We disagree not only with your views, but with every motivation that goes into those bills” Paul started off with ,talking about the C.G.I. bills and their creators. He went on to state that finding any common ground “is impossible.” The LGBTQ community is apparently living in Neverland, as “Sexual orientation is an illusion…your [the LGBTQ community] idea of rights is an illusion,” Paul said to gasps of shock from the crowd. “You think a piece of paper, will make you a family.. You think that love makes you a family.” According to Mr. Mero, only having generations makes a true family. Anyone else, just doesn’t count.
Equality Utah posed the question, “Why discriminate against jobs and housing?” Ex-Rep LaVar Christensen thought he had the answer. “No one is trying to discriminate. As a society, we license what we approve, because we come from a set of beliefs,” he tried to explain. “Employers don’t ask about marriage during an interview, they don’t ask personal details.” Many people muttered to this, including myself. I can recall several job interviews where I was asked personal questions, or the employer looked up my personal information on places like Myspace or Facebook pre-job offer. Moving into adoption and Gay/Transgender families, he says, “The natural birthright of kids, is to be raised by a mother and father, that is their right.”
Sutherland posed the question as to what scientific evidence supported the claim that homosexuality and/or children of same-sex parents is healthy. Lee Beckstead quoted several specific accredited studies, including by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These studies, which started with no agenda either way, showed that the results “demonstrate that there is no difference between having gay or non-gay parents to children…in both physical health, and mental health.” According to these respected studies, children who grow up with same-sex parents are the same when it comes to “likelihoods.” Meaning they are just as likely to be physically healthy, mentally healthy, college graduates etc.. as children who grow up with heterosexual parents.
To compare Mr. Beckstead’s answer, Shirley Cox made some pretty wild claims but was unable to quote a single specific study. “Studies show that kids in homes with homosexual parents are more likely to have poor mental health, abuse drugs and have poor school performance” she claimed (without mentioning where these supposed studies came from). She also mentioned that “these types of homosexual relationships should not be permitted due [in part] to the fact that on average homosexual relationships do not last as long as heterosexual ones, there’s no longevity.” However, she apparently failed to recognize the obvious contradiction in her argument. How can you fault homosexual relationships for not having the longevity of heterosexual relationships when you fight against their existence at every turn?
Overall, Team Equality Utah had amazing points. From Senator McCoy showing that creating stable families through these rights is incredibly beneficial to society as a whole, to Cliff Rosky responding to an audience question showing that it is the governments responsibility to protect it’s people.
The most shocking moments of the night? The audience member who shouted out that “gays” should want to go to prison because they would get more action, or the other audience member who compared same-sex marriage to a man having sex with his horse.
My favorite quote overall? Will Carlson [in reponse to Mr. Mero who said that same-sex relations are wrong because they have the highest risk of disease} said to Mr. Mero, "You know, lesbians have the lowest disease rate of any relationship. So if that [having the lowest disease rate] is the goal, only lesbians should be allowed to be intimate!”