1. What would you do if you are elected to protect the equal rights of gay Utah citizens?
I believe in equal rights for everyone regardless of age, race, religion, creed, color, sexual orientation or gender identity. I am opposed to any sort of legislation that would attempt to exclude a minority group from equal protection under the law. This would include the unfair restrictions placed on homosexual members of the U.S. armed forces under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and any Constitutional amendment to define marriage based on a religious definition instead of a legal definition.
I have a personal definition of marriage that is consistent with the teachings of my religion but I don't think it prudent or even legal for me or anyone else to try and force that religious definition onto other people who don't share my religious views or choose not to adhere to any religion at all. I recognize that the definition of marriage as a civil contract between two individuals is subject to evolve and include relationships that fall outside of "traditional/religious" contexts. Since the rights of religions to define marriage and its practice are protected by the First Amendment, there is no need to codify any sort of additional protections for those religions and their adherents; to do so would be redundant considering the scope of the First Amendment.
2. What would you do if you are elected to protect the firearm rights of Utah citizens?
I believe in the natural right of all individuals to protect themselves and to have access to the tools that allow them to do so including firearms insomuch as they do not infringe on the rights of others to do the same. I do not support renewing the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act (AKA the Federal Assault Weapons Ban). Such legislation does not prevent crime or deny criminals access to such weapons. They only infringe upon the natural rights of law abiding citizens to acquire and legally use such firearms however they please--again, as long as they do not use those tools to infringe on the rights of others.
I personally do not own any firearms. I have used them recreationally on occasion and as part of my training when I served in the U.S. Navy and, frankly, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if my life depended on it. Having been diagnosed and treated for clinical depression over the years, I never thought it wise for me to own a gun but I have no issue with any law abiding citizen who chooses to own a gun for their protection and recreation and everyone that I know who owns a gun is a law abiding citizen.
3. What have you done so far to protect these rights?
For starters, when I joined the Navy in 1993 I swore an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States which includes the Bill of Rights and that oath carried with it no expiration.
Where the rights of gay Utah citizens are concerned, I have been a strong supporter of the Common Ground Initiative and the organization Equality Utah. I also support the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into law last October and coincidentally opposed quite vocally by my opponent Congressman Jason Chaffetz. I also voted against Amendment 3 to Utah's Constitution in 2004 defining marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman. While I do embrace that definition of marriage personally and religiously, I think that the legal definition can be much more flexible without infringing on the rights of individuals and religions to retain their traditional and doctrinal definitions for their own purposes.
Regarding gun rights, since I do not own a gun I never considered joining any firearms organizations like the NRA or GOA and living in Utah with a long standing tradition of hunting and its pioneer heritage, I haven't felt compelled to speak out on any Utah-centric gun issues except for the recent proposal to celebrate the life of hunting rifle manufacturer John Browning concurrently with Martin Luther King Jr.--a man who was killed with a hunting rifle (not built by Browning). That struck me as just plain distasteful.
I am very glad to read that you support the rights of gay people. I won't vote for anyone who doesn't.
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