Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tell Utah to do good with its $2M and not waste it fighting marriage equality - Matty Jacobson

Said every Utah taxpayer, apparently.

Two million dollars is a lot of money. It's more than the majority of Americans will ever see in their lifetimes.

Whole generations of families can live and die and never see anything close to that amount of money.

There's a lot that can be done with $2 million, and the state of Utah thinks it knows the best way to put said money to use: by fighting marriage equality.

Rather than allow two people who love each other to sign a contract and be allowed the same benefits as anyone else, our state is taking taxpayer dollars and using to hire additional attorneys, in addition to our newly-appointed attorney general, so the state can have the best representation possible when it goes before the Supreme Court.

Go anywhere on the Internet, and you'll find arguments both for and against this. In the end, I have no doubt Utah will lose. And Utah isn't too sure of its chances, either, or else it wouldn't have dedicated such an obscene amount of money to fight the battle.

What I don't understand is why the average Utah taxpayer isn't up-in-arms over this. After all, it's not money that magically appeared out of nowhere. These are dollars that were earned by the retail salesman who worked overtime, by the sanitation workers who pick up trash, by the teachers who educate our children. Am I to believe that these people want the money they worked so hard for to go toward a losing -- and morally corrupt -- cause?

But let's say that you do. Let's say your dedication to religion is so great that you would spend ridiculous amounts of money to make sure two people who have literally zero effect on your life can not reap the same benefits you enjoy.

Are you not being a hypocrite, then? There are few parts of the Bible that I take with me. But there was one thing that seemed to stick out. Jesus said that he had one commandment before all others, and that was to love one another.

Now, you can still disagree that love is reserved only for you and the people whom you deem fit for love, but you cannot disagree that there are far better things $2 million can be spent on. After all, is charity -- love for one another -- not the commandment above all commandments?

Here's some acts of love that could be performed with $2 million.

Help The Homeless

There were around 15,000 homeless Utahns in 2012, according to this report. While only 3 percent of that number are chronically homeless, that makes me wonder: could $2 million do something to alleviate said percentage?

Increase Spending on Education

Did you know that Utah ranks last on spending per pupil? That's right. According to this report, "Utah spent less per student on elementary and secondary education than any other state in the nation." That's right. You'd think Utah would put a little more effort into providing its schools with the materials it needs to provide quality educations. Imagine the supplies $2 million could provide for some of our lesser-off institutions.

Feed The Hungry

According to this report, "Utah is one of 16 states nationwide where the number of families with children who have trouble accessing enough food is 9 percent or more." A Utah Food Bank spokeswoman even says that 117,281 Utah children were food insecure. How many meals to hungry children could $2 million provide?

These are just three examples. There are countless more. People in our state are in need, and fighting marriage equality is not bettering the quality of life of anyone. Nobody's existence on this planet will be more comfortable, nobody's empty plate will suddenly be filled, nobody's illness cured, nobody's naked body clothed, nobody's child's education bettered, by forcing a religious belief on people who don't subscribe to that belief.

So please sign this petition. Tell the state of Utah that throwing $2 million of your taxpayer dollars away on hate is something you won't stand for. Do good in the world. Make this planet a place that's worth living on. Support unity and love.

As it stands, the state gets the following rating for such frivolous spending. Utah, there's still time to fill in these empty stars.

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