“Family Policy” Bill is Bad Policy

On Friday I read an article in the Daily Herald regarding HB270, “Family Policy”. The news article made the bill sound absurd; upon reading the bill myself I found that the reporter did not do justice to the sheer absurdity demonstrated in this proposed legislation. This bill is not only bizarre, it is frightening. I have asked my legislators to VOTE AGAINST HB270 if/when it comes before them.

HB270 is sponsored by Representative LaVar Christensen (R-Draper), and as of this morning it is on its first reading in the Utah House. The bill goes to great lengths to propose one precise definition of “family” (father, mother, children born/adopted into the family). This definition may be the ideal to some but it is not based in the reality of our society, where successful and loving families come in wonderfully assorted forms. Further, this bill goes on an inappropriate religious tangent that may be considered unconstitutional, if not threatening to those with different religious or social viewpoints (line 34: “Marriage and family predate all governments and are supported by and consistent with the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, the Creator and Supreme Judge of the World….”).

The frightening portion of this bill begins at the end of paragraph 7 where it proposes to influence state law:

(7) To the extent social problems arise that adversely affect the desired optimum family
condition, such as the dissolution of marriage, crime, poverty, immorality, violence, and other  conditions that place added responsibilities on individuals and communities through publicly funded and administered social programs and government services, laws and regulations shall be carefully scrutinized to determine how they impact the family and the protection of children.
(8) (a) The laws of the state shall, to the fullest extent possible, strengthen, safeguard,
and sustain families.
(b) They shall respect and promote the essential and complementary roles of both a
father and a mother and uphold this public policy for the greatest public good.

I’m sure the intentions of the sponsor are good; protecting the family sounds admirable.  However, the language of this bill could have devastating effects on myriad social and legal services throughout the state.  This law could actually harm Utah families, not help them.

Utah already has cemented in law its viewpoint that marriage is between one man and one woman — we do not need to further legislate this point. HB270 is dangerous, discriminatory, and verging on theocratic. In Utah we have to be very careful about mixing religion and law. This bill crosses the line. I have asked my legislators to please speak out and vote against this bill.

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