We are "natural family"

The Kanab, Utah, City Council adds bigotry to the area's many attractions.

Published January 25, 2006 1:00PM (EST)

The Kanab, Utah, City Council has seen fit to pass a non-binding resolution promoting the "natural family," the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The resolution (PDF on this page), big shock, "labels marriage between a man and a woman as 'ordained of God,' sees homes as 'open to a full quiver of children,' and envisions young women 'growing into wives, homemakers and mothers and ... young men growing into husbands, home builders and fathers.'" It was pitched to the council by the Sutherland Institute ("Adding Value to Utah"), a conservative think tank in Salt Lake City that's probably not wild about that city's mayor, and whose founder, Gaylord K. Swim, was actually named Gaylord K. Swim.

If it's "nonbinding," then why do it? Oh, I know! To be annoying. It's the political equivalent of the defense lodged by the bratty kid in the back seat waving his hands around in his little sister's space. "I'm not touching her!" "It's nonbinding!"

Memo to Carol Sullivan, the lone woman on the Kanab council: What part of voting no don't you understand? "I saw no reason to vote against [the proposition] because it is non-binding," she said. "But I did wonder why it should be a government issue." She also found some of the resolution's language to be "chauvinistic," she said. "It kind of made me feel like the odd one out ... the square peg in a round hole. But that's how it is when you're the only woman on an all-male council." Oh, well!

Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Utah in Salt Lake City, who likely cannot believe she had to freaking spell this out, said: "It doesn't address what the landscape of the American family looks like today." The concept of family, she said, "has evolved in a lot of different ways, and it is sad when government discriminates against the rights of families."

Unnatural-family member Marina Johnson, a Kanab waitress and single mom of three, agreed. "It should not matter if a couple is gay or single or what their religious affiliation is or whether they believe in God," she said. "It is not right that [someone's partner] be denied medical benefits just because they are not married in the traditional way ... People should be allowed to do the right thing and take care of the people they love."

Come on, don't say "Eh, it's just Utah." First of all, once again, dig the gay-friendly mayor of Salt Lake; that's Utah, too. Oh, and the unnatural mayor of Big Water, where he and Mormons have found a rather refreshing middle ground. (Minor caveat: Boudicca Joseph, one of several widows of Big Water's late former mayor, is "wary of those who would find too many similarities between polygamy and homosexuality. 'I don't like them being lumped together,' she said." Neither do the gays, hon, neither do the gays.)

Second: Each and every such resolution -- nonbinding, schmon-binding -- contributes to a growing tolerance of intolerance. Wherever they are, thing is, they add up.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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