What was expected to be a simple correction of its domestic violence statute in Utah to include non-married couples, triggered a disturbing outburst of homophobic and extremist views. The bill was opposed by the Gun Owners of America.
While the Senate endorsed the Dating Violence Prevention Act, H.B. 50 by a 24-4 margin, three opponents rose to give their objections to including unmarried individuals the right to such protection. The bill simply allows “for the issuance, modification, and enforcement of protective orders between individuals who are, or have been, in a dating relationship” in cases of abuse or danger of abuse.
Sen. Scott Jenkins (R) rose to explain dating to this colleagues:
JENKINS: You make a lot of mistakes in your first original encounter and dates with this new partner. A lot of times you rough house. A lot of times you’re trying to determine limits and where your limit is and where her limit is and when you’ve gone too far and when you haven’t gone too far. And when it doesn’t work you, you walk away. Now there’s a new element in here—now, if you feel uncomfortable about something that happens, you go and you get a court order. And it’s like “how did this get introduced? I did something that I thought was in fun and jest and the next think you know, I’ve got a court order against me!”
If that was not bad enough, up popped Sen. Margaret Dayton (R) who warned of a slippery slope that could result in the protection of people in same-sex couples . . . from abuse.
DAYTON: As I read this dating relationship explanation, it talks about two parties in a social relationship, whether or not they’ve had interpersonal bonding. Okay? And it doesn’t include any kind of gender issues, so the way I read it, it could be two girls and one of them thinks they’re just good girl friends and the other one thinks it’s a romantic relationship and they’re dating. When the first one finds out that they’re not dating, she thought it was girlfriends, all of a sudden, one can get angry and all kinds of concerns can get generated because this is such an ill-defined dating relationship.
Of course, the same can happen in a conventional relationship but Dayton does not want to risk protecting same-sex partners from violence.
Then Sen. Mark Madsen (R) rose to object that verbal threats could be the basis for a protective order, apparently preferring to wait for an act of violence:
“What I’ve asked and requested and has not been offered is –- at least require a pattern, at least two instances of verbal threat or verbal abuse . . . I guess we’ve abandoned the old saying that sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.”
That of course ignores when the statements threaten to break your bones.”
It is important to note that this was a very small minority and that bill passed overwhelmingly in Utah.
Source: Think Progress