Andrew McCullough's Blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

Equality in Utah

August 24, 2009

This past week, Equality Utah, the GLBT Political Action Committee in Utah, held its annual "Allies dinner". The main speaker was Bishop Gene Robinson, the only openly gay Episcopal bishop in the United States, and the cause of much controversy. I actually would have liked to hear him speak; but this year I did not receive an invitation to the dinner, and was unaware of the date and content until after it happened.

The reason that I did not know about the dinner was that I was taken off the mailing list after I protested that Equality Utah has become an arm of the Utah Democratic Party. Last year it supported and endorsed only candidates of the Democratic Party. As Utah Chair of the Libertarian Party, I was saddened at this, especially after receiving support from Equality Utah for my own campaign for Attorney General in 2004. In 2008, that changed, and I could not in good conscience attend the dinner. And so, my name was removed from the mailing list.

What a shame. I currently am working on three legal cases in which gay or bisexual men have been arrested in public parks for the crime of expressing interest in other men, who happened to be undercover police officers. At the risk of sounding like I am bragging, I must note that I took a similar case up to the Utah Supreme Court several years ago, and won. I intend to win these cases too; and it is my hope that the police will gradually come to realize that being gay in a park is not a crime. On one of the police reports, the officer had the heading: "Criminal objective: homosexual act." Well, I was among a good crowd on the steps of the Utah Capitol to celebrate on the day when the U.S. Supreme Court said that homosexual acts were no longer criminal. The officer has not yet heard this, but he will. and so will his colleagues.

It really is a shame that the party that supports personal freedom in all its aspects is frozen out of the election process, and that we are now ignored by Equality Utah. Maybe be one of these days, Equality Utah will start supporting those who have supported them for so long. In the meantime, I will have to be satisfied with reading of Bishop Robinson's talk in the newspaper.
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