William Duncan of Utah is in Maine this week to Testify against LD 1020
by Chino Blanco, Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 06:17:51 AM EDT
I noticed that William Duncan from Utah's Marriage Law Foundation and The Sutherland Institute will be testifying in Maine today at the public hearing for LD 1020. Whenever I read Bill's stuff, the objection that invariably comes to mind is Thomas Jefferson's regarding sclerotic institutions:
"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."An objection echoed on this page of Turn Maine Blue.
-- from a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1810
In any case, here's Bill speaking at a Sutherland Institute event:
Admittedly, other than Bill's suggestion that only God-fearing (presumably monogamous?) straight couples care about the next generation, there's not much to that clip. I'm just dropping it here as a heads up for those who might be interested in recognizing Bill in a crowd (and no, that's not meant to sound ominously threatening - I'm sincerely suggesting it might be interesting for anyone able to attend the hearing today to recognize and politely engage Bill if the opportunity should present itself).
What I'm really wondering is how most folks in Maine would react to Sutherland's - i.e., Bill's employer's - stated position in the "Common Ground"debate with Equality Utah?
"We disagree not only with your views, but with every motivation that goes into the [Common Ground Initiative] bills ... Finding any common ground is impossible ... Sexual orientation is an illusion ... Your [the LGBTQ community] idea of rights is an illusion ... You think a piece of paper will make you a family ... You think that love makes you a family."Rough stuff. And needless to say, it's more than likely not the tack that Bill will be taking in today's hearing.
As my readers know, I grew up Mormon. And I count many kind and decent Mormons among my family and friends. Bill Duncan and the crew at Sutherland are also Mormon, but kind and decent they're not. What kind of person flies around the country interfering with the ability of families to enjoy the legal protections of civil marriage?
Anyway, if you're keen, you can watch a live stream of the LD 1020 hearing here (from what I understand, the hearing is going to run for the entire day, and I realize this link has probably been posted a million times already today).
Otherwise, here are some random bits about Bill:
Here's Bill singing praise for Maggie Gallagher and NOM (from last May, back before any of us had any idea just how tight the Mormon hierarchy was with NOM, and Bill certainly doesn't let on in this piece).
And here's a fun debunking of Bill's assertion that "the reason the traditional marriage crowd is losing in New England is because marriage is weakest there." And a sampling of the stats from that worthy post (rates of divorce as of 2004):
Connecticut: 2.4 (per thousand)
New Hampshire: 3.9
So, anyway, so much for Bill's argument re New England. But, that said, while the region looks to be in better shape on the marriage front than Bill's own home turf, Maine itself doesn't score so well (4.3 divorces per thousand). But, working from the numbers, that's an admission that would seem to suggest an obvious solution: Maine should follow CT and MA and allow the power of marriage equality to work its magic on its lousy divorce rate. Ha!
And with that, good luck and best wishes today to the defenders of marriage equality in Maine.