Powerful Utah Republican Committee Chair Ensures Law Giving Different-Sex Couples Preferential Treatment Remains Intact
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Republican State Rep. LaVar Christensen is the original sponsor of Amendment 3, Utah's constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. That amendment of course was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court, and ultimately deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rep. Christiansen has not given up his war against LGBT people, however. In addition to creating an entirely new concept, "marriage sovereignty," to "reserve" rights for the State of Utah over the federal government – rights against same-sex couples – in a bill that surely is as unconstitutional as was his same-sex marriage ban, Christiansen Wednesday managed to ensure a bill that would merely allow same-sex couples equal rights in adopting children, failed.
Christiansen is the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Wednesday HB 234 failed in a 5-5 vote, thanks to Christiansen and four other Republicans. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Angela Romero, would merely have removed language from current adoption law that gives preferential treatment to different-sex couples, and allowed same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as all other couples.
What a portion of the new law would like like had the bill passed
"I have a lot of constituents who are very loving parents. For us to deny them a right because of who they love is ridiculous," Romero told her Judiciary Committee colleagues during the vote, the Deseret News reports.
Christiansen, however, has chosen to interpret the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell as simply confined to marriage, and no other aspect of family life, telling committee members HB 234 "is based on a flawed premise," namely, that same-sex couples should have equal rights.
Rep. Christensen "said the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry did not compel states to change laws that impact families, citing language from the case, Obergefell vs Hodges, that said religions still have the right to advocate for their beliefs," Fox 13 reports.
State GOP Rep. Merrill Nelson, Christiansen's vice chairman, backed him up.
"States are required to give gay couples marriage licenses. They are not required to give gay couples children either through foster placements or adoptive placements," Nelson claimed.
Same-sex couples and LGBT rights groups should now sue the State of Utah, to ensure equality prevails.
Here's Rep. Christiansen in 2014, two years after his amendment banning same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional, ensuring an audience opposed to same-sex couples marrying that the amendment would ultimately prevail:
Image: Screenshot via YouTube