Welcome to Utah.
It’s an interesting place to leave.
In the north, you have very cold winters with a dense, soupy, polluted inversion that is filled with such horrible air that everyone in Utah might as well smoke. Really. They won’t, because that would remove their moral superiority, but it’s that bad. The summers are hot and people go to the mountains to get away from the heat. Actually, they have to do that to get away from the inversion, too.
Spring is rainy, sometimes pretty, and fall is wonderful. An eternal fall would be nice.
I don’t live there anymore. I moved to southern Utah with Birdman and the neurotic dog to help care for my mom and dad. Mom couldn’t live in the soup bowl anymore, and the elevation didn’t help. She had pulmonary fibrosis. So we got to keep her a little longer down in the desert. In the southern region of Utah, you have desert, desert, and some more desert. You also have Zion National Park (close to where I live), Bryce Canyon (not that far either) and myriad hiking trails and activities that can take place most of the year round. We did get snow this year, but it melted quickly and it was snowing everywhere in Utah that day. I believe someone picked up the snowglobe of life and gave it a good shake.
At any rate, as I mentioned, we generally have pretty good weather.
Nonethless, when I woke up on on December 20, 2013, it was like Christmas morning when you look outside and the sky is crisp and clean but there is a smooth blanket of snow on the ground. Then it melts the next day. You know, the dream.
I walked around stunned. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby had declared Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, a controversial bill pushed through by Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka and her trusty buzzards, was unconstitutional and violated the constitutional rights of gays to marry.
It was quiet that day. Those of us who are, ahem, slightly liberal tiptoed around lightly to make sure that we didn’t set something akilter and find out it was an early April Fool’s joke. But it was not. Same sex couples began lining up and waiting patiently for their turn to get a marriage certificate. Salt Lake City/County issued a lot. Utah County (home to BYU) refused to issue any and went home (they took their toys, too. They don’t like it when they don’t get to be the sheriff and have to be the outlaw). A couple other counties wouldn’t issue them until they were told they had to by reluctant Utah muckety-mucks (aka the powers that be).
After the numbness of being the 18th state to allow gay marriage, right after New Mexico, wore off, people got crazy. Over 1,000 couples applied for marriage licenses, and over 900 were married. (I hear that is more. I don’t like math. You can look it up if you want exact numbers.) They’ve lived in Utah for a while. They knew what was coming next. Time mattered. RUUUUUUUUUUUUUNnnnnn.
My friend Nick, who not only married his lovely partner but works in the SLC Office building, gave us random FB updates on the line. It was LONG.
Because they weren’t ready for this, the Republican government scrambled. They asked Judge Shelby for a stay, which he denied. Throughout the weekend weddings were held. It didn’t crumble, in fact, until Monday, January 3, when the Supreme Court “issued a brief order blocking any new same-sex unions in the state.”
The order grants an emergency appeal by the state following the Dec. 20 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights.
More than 900 gay and lesbian couples have married since then.
The high court order will remain in effect until the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether to uphold Shelby’s ruling.
So now, the ball is in Denver’s Court, so to speak. No date has been set. The flowers haven’t been ordered, and the cake… nonexistent. It is most likely that the Denver Court, unless they are still pissed off because Utah legalized gay marriage before they did, will send it on to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Governor Herbert, who I like to call Governor Dilbert, came out swinging, which is unusual because he rarely comes out of his office to do anything, and said all gay marriages were nullified. His poor new Attorney General Sean Reyes, tried to juggle all the balls and catch up after taking over for John Swallow, who had to resign amidst ugly circumstances because he swallowed everything, including the bribes and whatnot offered to him and from him so he could take over from Mark Shurtleff. Note: All parties, despite being politicians, should be considered innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. (There are still four investigations pending against him. I really don’t think if he WAS innocent, there would still be four different investigations happening.) So, basically, Dilbert made a bad pick.
So, Reyes, took over in the middle of this mess and I must admire his resolution, because Dilbert is not bright and doesn’t do much. Reyes comes with an excellent resume, including a law degree from one of the top 20 schools in the nation, UC Berkley. I forgive him for graduating from BYU. I imagine he walked into his office that first day and a mountain of paper fell from the sky.
I feel I should mention here that Reyes is the first Filipino American to serve as a Utah Attorney General, although I also feel I should not have to mention this because anyone who has ever been to Utah or seen pictures of our leaders is well aware they are all white Mormon men. On one blog someone referred to him as the first Fil-Am. That sounds like a gas station/quickmart. “I’ll have a six-pack and a bag of pork rinds. Hey, you don’t look much like the guy that usually works here.” The man was born in America. He’s an American. No more explanation necessary, except you know how those birthers are.
Anyway, I imagine after he walked in, Dilbert probably said, “Fix this,” and walked away. Later, against the AG’s advice, Dilbert announced that all marriages performed during the “miracle season” were null. A little later a very frazzled Sean Reyes admitted he did NOT have time to determine whether or not this was true.
Then Obama and the feds came out and said “it’s legal. We love all all of you and you are married. Congratulations.” (Paraphrased by moi.)
The final question is going to be this. Does the constitution guarantee the right of marriage to everyone? And the question coming from the other side is can states override federal mandates? Lots of changes are going to come out of this.
1) We need a new governor. Dilbert is dumb and he sold the voting records of everyone in Utah (before removing himself, of course) because it is a law. Why is it a law? Because the Utah politicans want to the ability to go to the house of anyone who voted against them and find out why. Or that’s the best explanation I heard. HONEST.
So those expensive lists that probably would have gone to telemarketers were bought by a guy in New Hampshire who wants to make money, so he’s handed it over for free. How will he make money? I have no idea, unless he has some high-end criminal friends who want fake identities and they want YOURS. (Your birthdate and year, address, voting records, phone number in some cases, voting number and the way you voted is all listed on the site.) I see somebody paying big money for that. Watch your credit report so you don’t find out you have another house in foreclosure somewhere else.
Dilbert obviously knew the dangers of selling the list, because he had himself removed, and a few other “elite” people. So while we are waiting out this gay-marriage/criminals-in-government/do-states-have-the-right-to tell-the-feds-where-to-go drama I suggest you call the governer’s office about 72 times a day, and demand to speak to him. Or email. Or write.
Eenie, meenie, miney, messy. Yup.