Utah Legislators Object To Domestic Violence Law Out Of Concern For Abusers Just “Testing The Limits” and Same-Sex Protections

Utah flagWhat 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.

JENKISKSen. 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!”

DAYTOMIf 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.

MADSEMBThen 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

38 thoughts on “Utah Legislators Object To Domestic Violence Law Out Of Concern For Abusers Just “Testing The Limits” and Same-Sex Protections”

  1. question for the naysayers.. how many men and women are dead with all the laws that are already on the books? and yes i said men.. they get abused also i’ve taken the time to read their blogs and forums as a fromer victim of abuse. that order of protection did NOT stop the ex from cutting my throat one day before my 20th birthday. and back then we didnt have half of the laws we have today… think not ?go read the blogs ” behind the blue wall” and “till death do us part” then answer my question please

  2. @leejcaroll. In all of my hurt at reading Hubert Cumberdale’s comment I didn’t even read yours. Thank you for calling him out on it.

  3. @ Hubert Cumberdale. What exactly are you disgusted by? Two women or two men loving each other? Or is it about sex? If it’s the latter, then I think your obsession with other people’s sexual preferences in a consensual way, not involving minors, and within the privacy of their home is a bit disturbing. What’s it to you? My daughter came out about 2 years ago and to read the word ‘disgust’ in reference to homosexuality is painful, sir. You are of course entitled to your opinion. I just wonder what else disgusts you and if you could kindly provide a list of them here so that I know, for future references to brace myself for disgusting comments on those from you. BTW, my daughter is in premed school, is an excellent soccer player and saxophone player and is an upstanding young woman whom I will hug a bit tighter next time she is here. It will be my way to protect her from mean people like you!

  4. no Hubert, the word racist regarding President Obama relates to the person (people) wearing shirts that read “Put the white back in the white house” To those who hung the president or watermelons or empty chairs in effigy. who said , and say, horrible racist things about the man, which includes the refusal to accept that he is an American and not a Muslim (which is muslimophobia since it does not matter that he is a Christian, in America supposedly one can be of any Faith or none at all and that is fine and protected)
    I feel sorry for you if the idea of 2 people finding and loving one another is disgusting. You seem to forget Jesus said to love one another as I have loved you and Judge not lest ye be judged

  5. This special interest group will need to come up with another cliche than “homophobe”. The word homophobe is a useless, meaningless cliche used only by special interest groups to stereotype certain people with differing views. (What happened to tolerance??) Phobia implies a fear, but of the general consensus regarding homosexuality, the emotion isn’t of fear, but of disgust.

    The overuse of the word “homophobe” has about as much effect as someone labeling a person a racist because they disagree with Mr. obama’s policies.

  6. Shelley Powers,

    Re:protective orders/Freedom of association

    I wonder what Prof. Turley’s thought’s are on the needs of another new law when there maybe other laws already on the books that address the same issue.

    I believe Ron Paul/Rand Paul are of the position the constitution allows us all not to associate with people/groups we don’t wish to associate with, thus it seems to me the courts can say , hey stay away from him/her, they don’t wish to be around you.

    Or maybe it could be I’m missing Prof Turley’s point of this article?


    ** Freedom of association
    Further information: Freedom of association

    Although it is not explicitly protected in the First Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled, in NAACP v. Alabama,[169] freedom of association to be a fundamental right protected by it. In Roberts v. United States Jaycees,[170] the Supreme Court held that associations may not exclude people for reasons unrelated to the group’s expression. However, in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995), the Court ruled that a group may exclude people from membership if their presence would affect the group’s ability to advocate a particular point of view. Likewise, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale,[171] the Supreme Court ruled that a New Jersey law, which forced the Boy Scouts of America to admit an openly gay member, to be an unconstitutional abridgment of the Boy Scouts’ right to free association. **

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


  7. Medical Examiner Snubs Official Request for Toxicology Report

    Kelly Patricia O’Meara
    March 16, 2013

    While state and federal lawmakers frantically push for massive mental health reform and sweeping gun control laws, two Connecticut mothers recently took to the streets of Newtown, connecting with local residents and gathering signatures on a petition that asks a simple but essential question—did prescription psychiatric drugs play a role in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting?

    Seems like an easy and obvious question that, remarkably, has escaped the consideration of legislators who seem hell-bent on legislating increased mental health services without first having all the necessary information to make thoughtful, fact-based decisions. More…


  8. Shelley Powers,

    Sorry, you must have completely missed the point.

    Judges already have all the authority the need to issue protective orders for anyone. “Anyone”

    This is just a stunt by another legislature wasting time playing on people’s emotions with more of these “Flavor of the Day Feel Good Laws” when there are already enough laws on the books that do the same thing.

  9. People do not seek protective orders because they’re bored, they do so because they have an expectation that the individual could harm them.

    This isn’t ‘nanny state’ or in violation of the Constitution. This is about individuals wanting to go about their lives with a reasonable assurance of not being physically attacked or harassed by another person.

    Thankfully the Utah state legislature demonstrated sanity. Would that some commenters in this thread do the same.

  10. This is Utah where many men (and women) unfortunately have a similar view of women and same sex couples as the Taliban.

  11. In a true Pirate Territory the brother of the victim would come around and beat the hell out of the abuser. You would not need no law or no law enforcement. No officers of the law. Grrr.

  12. I was stuck in an airport in Salt Lake City, Utah. The airport kept playing this song over their intercome put out years ago by Warren Zevon. It is called Lawyers Guns and Money. Those are the three things one needs in Utah if you leave the terminal. If you are “terminal” then take a Bible with you. Generally though, a place like Utah is aspirational. The aspire to be a Pirate Territory with no laws. Fly over and flush. Twice on Sunday.

  13. Dredd,
    The US Gov. is being run by “SECRET” memos and the POTUS will have any “leakers” arrested… Where does he fit into all of this mess?

    Doesn’t his Oath compel him to protect and defend the Constitution and ensure the Laws are “faithfully” enforced? Or is there a secret oath that negates this public Oath? What gives? No Impeachment, yet?

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