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Masturbation Blues

Abortion! Booze! LGBTQ rights! It was a greatest-hits week for the state Legislature.


Senate minority whip Luz Escamilla - ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón
  • Senate minority whip Luz Escamilla

You’ve got to hand it to Sen. Luz Escamilla. In response to the Senate’s vote Friday to ban elective abortions in Utah in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the Salt Lake City lawmaker tried to slip in an amendment that would outlaw male masturbation, chicken-choking, rocket-polishing, monkey-spanking, worm-burping, taco-saucing, making Dallin Oaks cry ... we could do this all day! Was Escamilla nuts? Hardly. Her point was to make men equally responsible for a woman’s pregnancy, and to criminalize dudes as much as the lege wants to criminalize women. Doesn’t feel so good, huh fellas? But really, shouldn’t every sperm be sacred? Or is that just the Catholics? Escamilla’s amendment failed, of course, to much junior-high-school snickering from the men in charge.

On Thursday, the Senate decided to rightly dump language in the state surrogacy law that shackled the rights of gay parents. But while the vote might seem like a sign that Utah politicians are finally dragging the state out of the dark ages—just a little, nothing too crazy!—we remind you that it was only last year when the Utah Supreme Court struck down the law that prevented gay couples from having kids through a surrogate, so this vote was just a formality. A way for lege Republicans to say, “How can you say I hate the gays? Look, I voted for this!” The vote was unanimous in the House and had only one ‘no’ vote in the Senate—we see you, Lyle Hillyard, whose most notable moment this session came last month, when the Logan Republican tweeted that “A person working at a job that does not pay a livable wage really only has a hobby,” which he then had to walk back, because really, dude?

Want to see gaggles of forward-thinking adult Utahns cry? Take them to a Costco or Trader Joe’s in California and show them the glorious rows upon rows of sweet delicious alcohol—bottles of your favorite brands, and super-cheap compared with the entire-paycheck-swallowing prices that the state liquor stores here charge. Maybe Utah politicians will treat grown-ups like grown-ups someday, but we’ll all be dead by then if coronavirus doesn’t finish us off first. So, small steps—but not really forward ones. House Bill 157 initially seemed promising, being that it would have allowed home delivery of wines not available in state stores. But THIS IS UTAH, where we can’t have nice things because The Children Must Be Protected™️. So this week, the bill was tweaked, and home delivery is out. Now if it’s passed, you’ll still be able to mail-order your booze—but it’ll have to be sent to a state store, where you’ll have to pay Utah’s batshit-insane 88% markup rate. (A similar senate bill drops the markup, though you’ll still have to drive to a state store to pick up your bottles.)

Utah liquor laws are so depressingly backwards, it’s enough to drive us to drink.