I haven’t posted in forever and I feel bad about that. It’s not that I’m not writing, I’m actually writing a lot for graduate school I’m just not posting my research here.
However, I submitted an abstract to the University of Utah History Conference about my research regarding AIDS in Utah in the 1980s. I’m posting the abstract here for anyone interested. This is a distilled version of the 30 page paper I wrote last spring.
“The Wages of Sin is Death”: AIDS in Utah and the LDS Church Response
In 1986 the Mormon Church shocked the gay and lesbian community in Salt Lake when a Mormon bishop in Ogden excommunicated a young Mormon man dying of AIDS. A national public relations fiasco for the Church followed and resulted in the Church issuing its first statement about AIDS, which only made matters worse. Spokesman Jerry Cahill stated that the Church had no official policy on homosexuality or AIDS but asked infected members to stay away from church meetings for fear of spreading the disease.
Church leaders grappled with the existence of homosexuality within Mormonism and by extension, a disease that devastated the gay community as well as women, children, and racial minorities. Church leadership refused to acknowledge or respond to the public health crisis until national media shamed them into making a statement in 1986 even though AIDS had spread in Utah since the early years of the decade. In addition the majority of members in the Utah legislature identified as faithful Church members and they too made no effort to combat the growing epidemic with state funds. The Catholic Church responded first to the AIDS epidemic in Utah. Nuns opened a wing in the Catholic hospital to men dying from AIDS and provided food and services. Other men and women from the Utah gay community organized the first AIDS organizations and public health outreach to combat this terrifying new disease.
Merry Christmas from Gay Ol’ Utah! Never before has Utah made the Yuletide gay like it has since Friday. And what is the Christmas season without a grinch? Utah currently has several. My friend sent me this parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on Monday and I think it’s brilliant, hilarious, and spot on. I did not write it! Writing credit goes to Brad Kramer, Jacob Baker, Cynthia Bailey Lee, and Sunny Ernst Smart. Enjoy!
Every Gay down in Zion
Liked Gay Marriage a lot…
But the Gov, Who lived just North of Downtown,
Did NOT! Continue reading →
Today, December 23, Republican Governor Gary Herbert has declared the State of Utah will go before a judge to ”defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah.” I don’t know how he can say that as a Utahan and as a Mormon. Traditional marriage in Utah is non-traditional. How delightfully ironic that today, December 23, Mormons will remember the birthday of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, a man who had 34 wives, 1/3 of whom married Joseph while simultaneously married to other men and 1/3 of whom were under the age of 20. The founder of Salt Lake City and colonizer of Utah, Brigham Young, had 55 wives and 34 children. 21 of his wives had never been married, 16 were widows, 6 were divorced, and 6 had living husbands.
Governor Herbert knows all this, he’s just trying to save face and appease the rabidly homophobic Mormon constituency in Utah. Plus he’s trying to make up for how ill prepared and incompetently the state acted on Friday.
That’s why the state filed an emergency motion with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to request a stay. (While writing this, I received a message that the 10th Circuit Court denied the stay. It was denied without prejudice which means the state can and will ask again.) What I did not expect the state to do was request that my marriage be declared void. The Salt Lake Tribune reported the state said in its motion that ”A ruling from the 10th Circuit is ‘crucial to maintaining that status quo,’” and “‘in the event that the district court’s decision is reversed, the licenses issued and the marriages performed in the absence of a stay may be void.’” (emphasis mine).
Yes, the state would void my marriage, or in other words, forcibly divorce me and my husband plus the hundreds of other couples who married on Friday and the hundreds more who will marry today, Monday, December 23…the birthday of Joseph Smith. Continue reading →
For the first time in my life, I can use the word husband to define the nature and status of my relationship with Michael.
Michael is my husband. We were legally married in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, December 20, 2013. Michael proposed to me in July while we were in Japan and since then we have been making wedding plans. We planned (and still plan!) to have a big celebration in Salt Lake, but we did not think that we would actually be legally married in Salt Lake.
Earlier this year our friends Derek and Moudi along with two other couples filed a lawsuit in Utah challenging the legality of Amendment 3, Utah’s version of Prop 8. Thanks to them, the other plaintiffs, and their lawyers, the case went to court and on Friday U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby declared Amendment 3 unconstitutional. The day started as any normal Friday: Michael and I woke up, I answered emails, I did a little Christmas shopping, then took the train to my tea shop to work. At 1:43 p.m. our attorney friend called and said that Amendment 3 had been struck down by Judge Shelby and that if we were serious about getting married, to rush to the County Clerk’s office.
After we got the call from our friend, Michael and I looked at each other, stopped everything we were doing and jumped in the car.
In a nutshell this is what happened when we got to the County Clerk’s office. Continue reading →
Today the Deseret News published a “My View” letter written by Utah’s own Mrs. Gayle Ruzika. You can read her letter here. (If you don’t know who she is, Google her name. She is no friend to the LGBT community.)
A person sent me the link to the article and asked for my thoughts. Below is my reply. Continue reading →