All posts in GLBT

All the Stories: Documenting LGBT Love Stories


My friend D’Arcy Benincosa a photographer and filmmaker in Salt Lake needs your support to help make her film  happen. There has never been a feature length movie documenting the story of gay marriage across America because it hasn’t been legal… until recently.

I’ve grown weary of the tortured gay story, the one in which all gay people are all reduced to harm and soaked in shame. That story has been told time and again and frankly it needs to end. Yes, gay people have been harmed and shamed but from that harm we have found strength, courage, and power to bring change and equality to the world. We win when we deploy love.

Which is why I think this project is important. D’Arcy filmed me and Michael for her project and it’s posted on YouTube and I’m posting it here.

Her project has been featured on Freedom to Marry and Upworthy.

Take a moment to check out her campaign on Indiegogo and if you have some extra dollars around, think about contributing to this project.

Why Marriage Matters to Me

A campaign launched a few weeks ago called Utah Unites for Marriage. From their website:

Utah Unites for Marriage is a broad and diverse coalition of state and national organizations, faith, business and civic leaders and everyday Utahns who are joining together to support the freedom to marry. The new, statewide public education campaign will work to broaden the conversation about why marriage matters to all couples and their families.  It comes on the heels of a federal court ruling that granted the freedom to marry in December, and in those 16 days of equality, over 1100 same-sex couples married.  That ruling is now under appeal by the state. While the litigation weaves its way through the federal court system, Utah Unites for Marriage will grow the grassroots network of people throughout the state committed to ensuring this basic freedom is soon available to everyone in the state.

Utah Unites for Marriage posted a story about the day that Michael and I got married legally in Utah.
You can read that here.
I wrote a guest post about marriage equality and why it matters for me and Michael. Utah
Unites for Marriage posted it on their website today. You can read it here.

Paper Abstract- “The Wages of Sin is Death”: AIDS in Utah and the LDS Church Response

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.


How the Governor Grinch Stole Gay Marriage

Gary Herbert

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 →

Hands Off My Marriage Governor Herbert!

My friend Troy Williams (left), me, Michael, and Senator Jim Dabakis.

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 →

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