The Straight Line

Utah House candidate on the left stands for what’s right

Over the next few months I’ll be introducing you to candidates running for various offices in Utah and nationally. I’m not going to be able to get to every candidate on every ballot, so I’m going to be completely arbitrary and focus on candidates that I like. Hey, it’s my column, right?

We’re starting this mini-series with Jeff Bell, a personal friend of mine who is running for Utah House of Representatives in District 43.

Jeff describes himself as: “(A) Father of three, husband of one: Jeff Bell is the owner and creative director for Defenestrate Media Group, a West Jordan-based media, marketing and advertising agency making film and documentary features, graphic design, and designing and managing high-profile internet and social-media development. Lifelong lefty and unapologetic liberal.”

Jeff’s a guy that has been around for a while. He currently hosts the award-winning The Left Show podcast. He previously hosted Left of the Dial on KSL News Radio and was formerly the DNC Communications Director for Utah.

Throughout his career and life, Jeff has been an advocate for equality. In speaking with the Board of the Utah Stonewall Democrats earlier this month, Jeff put it simply: “We shouldn’t have levels of citizenship.”

I asked Jeff about his stand on equality, with respect to four areas: nondiscrimination in housing and employment, second-parent adoption, shared insurance benefits and marriage/civil unions.

Jeff’s responses:

1) Totally for it. People should be judged for the content of their character and nothing else.
2) As an adopted American, I know that having loving parents is more important than silly societal prejudices and baseless fears.
3) Total no-brainer. Aside from believing that denial of shared insurance is bigoted at best, it’s a paid service and shouldn’t be subject to discrimination on silly societal prejudices and baseless fears.
4) Love is a constant of the universe. It doesn’t behave according to any arcane set of rules (or blatant ones). Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness wasn’t written down with the intention that there shouldn’t be different layers of American citizenship. Liberty and justice for all – FOR ALL! This means something – it’s not a conditional suggestion.

As things sit now, when the next legislative session rolls around there will not be a single openly gay legislator in office. Personally, I have no doubt that there are a few closeted, self-hating gays hiding within the GOP structure, but there isn’t anyone that has felt that sting of discrimination or fear based upon gender identity or sexual orientation.

The laws of our land currently deny LGBT citizens the same rights granted to heterosexuals. I’ve talked with several of my friends who are paying extra taxes because the government doesn’t recognize them as “married.” They want to be married, many of them are married in other states, but it’s not recognized here and that causes complications and additional expenses. Sounds like “different layers of citizenship” doesn’t it?

Jeff’s a candidate that has no tolerance for such nonsense. Equality isn’t earned, it shouldn’t have to be fought for, it should just be a part of policy. You’re here, you’re equal. Why is that so difficult to understand?

If we want to see real change made in Utah, then we need to elect people willing to stand up and fight for equality. This year, it’s going to fall to allies – and Jeff is one of those allies. It doesn’t matter if you love the system or hate it, or fall somewhere in between, it is the system and we’re stuck with it until we can change it. That change will happen when we elect the right people who will do the right things. Jeff Bell is one of the right people – on the left.

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