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Town hall meeting called on ultra-conservative anti-gay rhetoric in Utah County

In response to the rising anti-gay rhetoric by ultra-conservative activists in Utah County, Restore Our Humanity has called for a town meeting on Saturday.

Restore, the organization that initiated the lawsuit known as Kitchen v. Herbert, wishes to address what they call the “deceptive vilification and defamation that has been launched against the LGBT community since marriage equality debates have come to Utah.”

“The international ‘anti-gay’ industry has multi-million dollar budgets and they hide behind the guise of religion, mainly Christianity,” leaders wrote in a statement. “There is no shortage of these organizations in Utah. Scathing anti-gay rhetoric is routinely published in local papers. Whether the sources are institutional, personal or leaders of organized groups, these attacks are destructive and unwelcome in a civilized state.”

The group says that such rhetoric hurts families and causes a rift in the general community.

“When you injure one part of the community, you harm all of the community,” Mark Lawrence said.

In one example, the group points to an op-ed written by Pamela Romney Openshaw to the Provo Herald, stating, “The same-sex marriage movement is not what it appears to be. Behind the scenes, it is a crusade to destroy religious beliefs and their centerpiece, the institution of marriage. … The goal of homosexual activists is to eliminate marriage altogether.”

In another example, Cherilyn Eagar wrote last week for The Salt Lake Tribune: “The truth is that [nondiscrimination laws] are weapons to bully people of faith to comply with unjust laws that threaten both marriage and religious liberties.”

In September, Eager told Fox 13 News, “Would we expose a child to a pornography situation where they’re seeing bondage, S&M, and all these things that are at these events that they take their children to, that’s part of the culture.”

Restore hopes the town hall meeting will allow frank discussion of these issues and “confront the antagonism of hate and hostility imposed by these people.”

There will be several speakers and a respectful question and answer session. All concerned residents of Utah County are welcome.

The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Sat. Nov 29th in the Bullock Room at the Provo City Library, 550 N University Ave, Provo.

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