Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Utah State Senator Chris Buttars Introduces SB267 To Stop Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker's Domestic Partner Registry For Homosexuals
During the funeral of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley on Saturday February 2nd, 2008, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, himself not LDS, committed an incredibly classy act when he ordered bells at the Salt Lake City & County Building to ring 97 times, one for each year of Hinckley's life. By this act, Becker earned my personal respect. Pictured at left, State Senator Chris Buttars.
However, political respect is something else altogether, and the fact is, Ralph Becker, as a state lawmaker, was an active and persistent proponent of the homosexual agenda. And, as mayor, he proposes to continue paving the way for the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle through his Human Rights Initiative.
And the part of his Human Rights Initiative that he's pushing right now is his proposed domestic partner registry. The registry is intended to provide a means of legal recognition for gay couples, unmarried heterosexual couples, and other same- or opposite-sex relationships, including parent and child, other familial relationships and committed friendships. It would allow qualifying couples to receive certificates from City Hall attesting to their domestic partner status, which would help employers determine the status of those applying for benefits.
One of Utah's most reliable pro-family lawmakers, District 10 Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan), is proposing legislation which would bar Salt Lake City from enacting this proposed domestic partner registry. Buttars believes the proposed registry violates the spirit of a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and other domestic unions. The bill, SB267, was introduced with a title but no text as "Municipal Authority Amendments". Full story published in the Deseret Morning News.
Becker deferred comment on SB267 until he could see the text or speak with Buttars, said Helen Langan, the mayor's spokeswoman. However, Salt Lake City Council Chairwoman Jill Remington Love said she hoped lawmakers would leave it up to cities to decide on such proposals. Love added that the proposed ordinance was carefully crafted and the city's attorneys say it doesn't violate Amendment 3 of the state constiution, which codifies the state's same-sex marriage ban.
"We've always viewed this to be compassionate legislation, where we recognize families are not always husband and wife," Love said. "A support network could be a number of things. It could be a mother and daughter, it could be two best friends, it could be a gay couple."
A public hearing before the City Council is scheduled today (February 5th) on the proposed registry. In order to qualify, a couple over 18 years old would have to be in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment. Back in 2006 approved extending health benefits to adult partners, siblings, long-term roommates and parents of city employees.
Update: The Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed the domestic partner registry ordinance on February 6th, 2008.
Commentary: The proposed domestic partner registry ordinance was loaded up with a bunch of other types of relationships in order to make it more palatable to those who oppose legal recognition of gay unions. And so far, In Salt Lake City, it seems to work. The City Council appears poised to approve the proposed ordinance, although the vote may not be unanimous.
The problem is that this goes far beyond the original intent and purpose of spousal benefits. They were intended solely for legal spouses. Now if private companies want to voluntarily extend that definition further for their employees, that's one thing. But for government to get behind such an effort, with its coercive implications, is completely unacceptable.
And some of Becker's other human rights initiatives are coercive. For example, one of his proposals is to forbid companies from doing business with the city from discriminating against gays. Failure of such a company to provide benefits for the domestic partner of an employee will be considered discrimination, and force company owners to violate their consciences in order to continue doing business with the city. This is unacceptable, and is why I hope Buttars' bill succeeds.