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Gay Rights Forum

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Gay rights leaders reach out to their troops after legislative compromise.---

More than a week ago, a one-year moratorium on gay rights legislation (or conversely, anti-gay rights legislation) was agreed to by legislative leaders and Democratic, especially gay, legislators. Almost immediately, gay rights activists cried foul.

That frustration continued this weekend, with an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune by Charles Lynn Frost, aka "Sister Dottie." In the piece, he blasts the gay rights leaders for taking the "facile, less clash-oriented road" and wishes the LGBT leaders in Utah were as brave as the civil rights leaders in the 1960s.

This Thursday, the Utah Pride Center and LGBT Resource Center at the U are holding a forum to discuss the moratorium and, more importantly, where the movement should go next.

I've already said it once and I say it again in this week's Hits & Misses: this is the right move, this year. The frustration is understandable, but the LGBT movement would lose terribly in the 2010 Legislature. They would lose on a practical front, because the non-discrimination ordinances would be repealed. But they would also lose on the emotional front, because the hard-core religious conservatives would prey on fears that are still very real -- but becoming less so with each passing year -- among the Republican faithful. By waiting a year, as difficult as it may be, they can have quiet discussions with moderate Republican leaders about how to practically implement change that will actually help, and not just give lip service to, equality.

Still, it's important for the gay community and their supporters, as a whole, to have this dialogue with themselves. There will be splits, and at times, the forward at all costs approach will be the best one. But other times, such as now, patience is a valuable virtue.

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