Moral crusaders in Utah fearful of same-sex marriage

The Salt Lake Tribune says Utah’s conservative-moral crusaders – who are brandishing what they call “common sense” to rebuff the push from gay-rights advocates for “common ground” – may be making a common mistake.

Their fears that granting any rights to same-sex couples inevitably leads to legalization of gay marriage are overblown, legal experts say.

The Constitutional Defense of Marriage Alliance – led by Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, Sen. Chris Buttars, former Rep. LaVar Christensen and the conservative Sutherland Institute have issued rebuttals to Equality Utah’s Common Ground Initiative, a legislative effort that would extend some legal protections to same-sex couples; make it illegal to fire or evict someone for being gay or transgender; and seek voters’ approval to repeal Utah’s Amendment 3 ban on civil unions.

Common Ground foes argue that extending rights to same-sex couples or recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class undermines Utah’s constitutionally enshrined edict that marriage is only between a man and a woman. They warn that even seemingly benign gay-rights measures put Utah on a “slippery slope” toward a court ruling that would legalize same-sex marriage, like in California last year.

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