Joseph Smith’s gayest birthday EVAH

It’s been a busy weekend for love in Utah. After a federal judge struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban on Friday, the state literally erupted in gay weddings, despite the best efforts of Utah’s Republican leaders to, as they’re wont to do, kill love.

And today is Mormonism founder Joseph Smith’s 208th birthday.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the birthday of a man that had 34 wives, than the delicious mess that’s currently taking place in Utah as gay couples continue to rush to get married, and the courts continue to shrug in almost a judicial version of “what’s the big deal?”, as the homophobic Mormon Republicans attempt to shut it all down.


Joseph Smith (rainbow overlay via Shutterstock)

The marriages are continuing, the Republican Mormons are still trying to stop them. And to add to the fun, a federal judge in Ohio just struck down that state’s gay marriage ban too!  Kinda of.  The judge limited his ruling to recognizing gay marriages only for the purposes of death certificates.  So you have to die in order for Ohio to recognize your marriage.  Brilliant.  Still, as the story notes, this is going to have repercussions for future cases as it’s hard to believe the gay marriage ban is unconstitutional for this purpose, but not for any other.

Now back to the big gay mess in Utah.  There are a gazillion updates.  I’m going to link to them, because there simply are too many to cover.

Five Utah counties, showing blatant contempt for federal law on matters of marriage (sound familiar?), are refusing to process the marriages of gay couples, and are instead closing their offices down entirely.  It’s the old “better to close down the city pool than let those black folks in” strategy.  How “Christian” of them, right before Christmas.

But in lots of other places, the marriages are continuing – and then some.


The lines are endless at the Salt Lake County offices, reports Equality Utah. Note the lines going all the way to the second floor in this photo:

Lines wrapped around 2 floors at the Salt Lake County Complex (Photo: Equality Utah via Facebook)

Lines wrapped around 2 floors at the Salt Lake County Complex (Photo: Equality Utah via Facebook)

Here’s a shot in Weber County from this weekend – look at those lines:


Here’s some video that Equality Utah posted to Facebook (ugh), sideways (ugh), and then didn’t make embeddable (ugh). So I’m embedding the entire FB post itself, hoping that this works. Now would be a good time for my rant about activists rarely making it easy for the rest of us to promote their cause by giving us video we can use. This should have been posted on YouTube, for starters. And if it has to go on FB, make the video itself embeddable. Please. /rant

You really have to smile at how the haters always like to talk about what deranged, immoral perverts we are, yet we perverts are showing up in droves to get settled down, while the holier-than-thous are the ones attempting to stop us from having monogamous traditional relationships.

Seth Anderson, who was I think, along with his husband Michael, might have been the first to get married in Salt Lake City on Friday, walks us through the irony:

Today, December 23, Republican Governor Gary Herbert has declared the State of Utah will go before a judge to ”defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah.” I don’t know how he can say that as a Utahan and as a Mormon. Traditional marriage in Utah is non-traditional. How delightfully ironic that today, December 23, Mormons will remember the birthday of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, a man who had 34 wives, 1/3 of whom married Joseph while simultaneously married to other men, and 1/3 of whom were under the age of 20. The founder of Salt Lake City and colonizer of Utah, Brigham Young, had 55 wives and 34 children. 21 of his wives had never been married, 16 were widows, 6 were divorced, and 6 had living husbands.

Governor Herbert knows all this, he’s just trying to save face and appease the rabidly homophobic Mormon constituency in Utah. Plus he’s trying to make up for how ill prepared and incompetently the state acted on Friday.

And as I’ve noted before, the fact that a ton of marriages of gay couples have already taken place makes this entire affair all the more difficult for the Mormon Republicans to overcome, legally or otherwise. Are the courts really going to un-marry potentially thousands of gay couples? Doubtful. But can the court leave some gays married but tell others that they’ll never be permitted to marry? I would suggest that that’s legally untenable in the long-term, as it suggests that even with the same class, some get rights that others aren’t permitted. Good luck defending that one in court.

What a delicious day.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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55 Responses to “Joseph Smith’s gayest birthday EVAH”

  1. vonlmo says:

    Mormonism is one f’d-up religion & gay Mormons are the most f’d-up of the f’d-up.

  2. Dakotahgeo says:

    In that respect, no. But just the sound of their names together reminds one of a defunct gunsmith company that never got off the ground.

  3. sfcanative says:

    To the uninitiated, some background information on this compelling story is necessary. Literally “out of a hat” is how it happened:

    Those unnamed sources would rather produce an award-winning Broadway musical which has completely derailed the missionary efforts of the Mormon church in the promised land.

  4. sfcanative says:

    “Manuscript Found” is a disputed novel which, while not mimicked in style by the Book of Mormon, does address the same quandry of the time, “where did the American Indian come from?”

    This is also a useful read on the subject:

    America was possessed with the topic of the American Indian in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, giving birth to many writings, essays and novels on their origin . . . including the Book of Mormon.

  5. Naja pallida says:

    Surely you don’t mean, traditional values, compassionate conservative Newt, who was getting blown by his mistress in his car in the Congressional parking lot during the Clinton/Lewinsky hearings?

  6. sfcanative says:

    Please don’t leave out Rush Limbaugh (4-times) or Larry King (8-times) and Newt Gingrich (3-times)!

  7. sfcanative says:

    It’s well documented that neither Smith or Young of Smith&Young were shooting blanks . . .

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    Now that that hateful nonsense is out of the way, Merry Saturnalia and a happy Juvenalia.

  9. mirth says:

    Good read, John.

    Here’s a fun factoid:

    Those wives of his married to other men, especially the younger ones barely more than children – he would send the husbands off on a “mission” for the church and when they returned, Bam!, ol’ Joe was their brother husband.

  10. Monoceros Forth says:

    You’ve got to admire the organization of Scientology in a way. It’s like L. Ron Hubbard stuffed a whole bunch of religious ideas from everywhere into a centrifuge, whirled it around really really fast until all of the creepiest and most manipulative aspects of it settled out, and threw everything else away. Impressing upon your followers a Catholic-like oppressive sense of guilt and the need for confession? It’s in there. Tantalizing your followers with the promise of secret knowledge only accessible to an elite as though it were a Greek mystery cult? It’s in there too. Claiming that the only way to cure physical disease is by treating the spirit, like a Christian Scientist? Got that as well. Add in some elements of secular cults, like the Amway-esque insistence that you need to buy more and more books and tapes and “classes” if you hope to get ahead, and you’ve got a truly impressive and frightening apparatus for separating people from all their money.

  11. karmanot says:

    Thanks John for all the work, time and hassle to keep this site going strong. It’s been a great year and we appreciate all of you.

  12. karmanot says:

    “which Joseph Smith literally pulled out of his hat.” According to unnamed sources, it wasn’t his hat. :-)

  13. The_Fixer says:

    Well, L. Ron’s most definitive work as a very bad pulp science fiction writer was Dianetics, and the whole premise of Scientology.

    He may not have called it a religion, but it shares one common trait with other religions: unbelievability.

    The one thing that exposes Scientology as a fraud most effectively is the “E-Meter”. It’s nothing but a device that measures skin resistance with an added circuit that makes the meter’s needle wobble at random times. There are schematic diagrams of them on the internet, that’s all that they are when one analyzes the circuit. That’s why they keep them super-secret. Any competent technician could look at it and see what it is.

    The fraud part of it is upsetting enough, but their obsessive control over their membership and litigious nature really bother me. Ian Murphy did a great article on them for the Buffalo Beast a while ago (it’s a scream):

    While the Mormons are not quite as litigious, they certainly share that cultish desire to control their membership. And I still don’t get the magic underwear.

  14. maria says:

    Don’t forget Zaa Zaa Gabor. According to Johnny Carson, she had a wash-and-wear wedding gown.

  15. dcinsider says:

    I didn’t realize how attractive Joseph Smith was. Hmmmm, me like their prophet.

  16. David Tiffany says:

    When all is said and done, we will all give an account of ourselves to God.

  17. Stev84 says:

    Mormonism is basically the 19th century version of Scientology. They also have some whacky beliefs about the afterlife and use heavy handed methods to keep tabs on people. Though they are not quite as extreme as Scientology.

  18. kenthomes says:

    Screw the Mormons! I am ex-Mormon and proudly gay and am sick of most of my “family” in Uturd! Mormons are really good at acting all loving when they see you face to face, but then, behind you back they are stabbing you real good by voting to deprive you of the same rights they have. I finally had it the other day when some family members on Facebook were supporting douchy “duckster”. They might as well be dead to me and they are. NEXT! My husband and I of 32 years finally got married in front of the Supreme Court as soon as marriage was made legal in D.C. The Mormons are a fraud, money crazed, power crazed CULT, end of story. Just the other day the repudiated their horrendous racism. TOO LATE! What are you going to do, change the whole gist of the Book of Moron? That toilet bowl of a fairytale, says that the Eeeeeeeevil ones, the Lamanites, were ‘stricken” with a dark skin for their disobedience to “God”, thereby giving us the American Indians. Truly, you could not make this shit up! Anyway, I hope all of these wonderful, committed couples have the best marriages ever!

  19. karmanot says:

    OMG! Gays on Kolob?

  20. karmanot says:

    We have been together for 20 years. It works for us. The civil rights will be a plus, long over due.

  21. disqus_8LRrePnKhM says:

    Isn’t the divorce rate for “traditional marriage” at about 50 percent in this country? Who has the right to say that gay and lesbian couples can’t fuck up on their own? Who has the right to say that a loving gay, lesbian or straight couple can’t see it through to the end? Good luck to all who get married, I hope it works out for you.

  22. Butch1 says:

    Persistent right to the end, we weren’t going to let them win. Congratulations to us all!

  23. 4th Turning says:

    Waiting to sign in for Obamacare in your jams and sipping a mighty fine cuppa hot chocolate?
    Grab some popcorn and stick “The Falls” and/or “Latter Days” in the old dvd player. And take
    a moment to remember our brothers and sisters forced to submit to an experience beyond
    humane imagination. I truly hope they can find a measure of comfort and renewal in the
    revolutionary(?) events of these past few days.

  24. Dakotahgeo says:

    I’d love to get my hands on the NSA information they have on Joey and Briggy! That should keep quite a few people up all night!

  25. Dakotahgeo says:

    Gotta love those Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Morons! I think if I had a church history regarding Young and Smith, I’d keep my mouth shut! Smith and Young… sounds like a defunct gunmaker that shot blanks! Geeezzzzzz!!!

  26. Indigo says:

    It’s astonishing what will be swept off when that dam gives way.

  27. I just saw another one of those silly ads: “Do you support traditional marriage?” I’m a misogamist! Besides, the only ones who support traditional marriage are the ones who get married traditionally. Finally, if traditional marriage should need support, then it’d be in deep trouble. I suppose then Joseph Smith really supported traditional marriage because he engaged in it so many times! Perhaps we should include Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, and even Maude Findley in this group.

  28. crazymonkeylady says:

    Utah didn’t know they had so many gay people! That must make them furious! GOOD.

  29. BeccaM says:

    It sure was a magic time.

  30. But wasn’t that a wonderful time when Newsom opened the door? We got married on Valentine’s day. Somehow that marriage was even better then the valid one four years later.

  31. It was a long road, but glad you made it!

  32. Monoceros Forth says:

    I remember (though not well enough) reading a magazine article some years ago describing how Joseph Smith’s Mormon inventions were a synthesis of several 19th century American obsessions that had become fodder for other confidence men, most notably the belief that there had been a lost American civilization–a white civilization, mark you–predating European colonization of the continent. I can’t remember where I found this, however, and I’m not succeeding in dredging it up with online searches.

  33. Naja pallida says:

    The only color they have ever really cared about is green. Everything else built around the Church is just incidental.

  34. Is anyone else see interesting that horrible Shoe Carnival ad that takes over the entire page for 30 seconds? I am and we’ve taken two hours now to try to find who is behind it. We do not permit ads like this;

  35. cole3244 says:

    what angers the mormons most is they can tell by the color of their skin the minorities they discriminate against but with this ruling so many gays that they thought were good utahans are out and they have to start disliking people they thought were like them.

    the enemy is you utah so be careful what you say and to whom because they are out to get you.
    live in the past then you fear the future.

  36. Butch1 says:

    We and 3,000 others were nullified in Oregon back a number of years ago when we came down from Washington state to get married. After going through on iteration of a Domestic Partnership, we finally got our legal marriage in Washington State. Those judges and justices weld that much power.

  37. LanceThruster says:

    Well hello Joe, what do you know? I just got back from a vaudeville show..


    Thx UT!

  38. BeccaM says:

    I view that one as a leaky crack in the dam…

  39. BeccaM says:

    And the word is the 10th might take a while to get around to having a hearing.

  40. BeccaM says:

    Ditto. My wife and I were among those 4000 couples, too. We still have the certificate.

    Of course, the difference back then was the California Supes declared that Newsom didn’t have the legal authority to do what he did, whereas the 18,000 were married legally — and Prop H8, despite the protestations of the bigots who sponsored it, did not explicitly say that existing same sex marriages were to be annulled.

    It’s also worth remembering that the issue of LGBT rights 2004 was very different from 2008, and apparently rather different than Post-DOMA 2013 as well.

  41. BeccaM says:

    Who flat out admitted to anybody who’d listen how since he wasn’t making much money as a very bad pulp science fiction writer, he was going to ‘invent’ a religion — but avoid the pitfalls of actually calling it a religion — and thus become insanely wealthy.

    I’ll give him this much: The scam worked.

  42. Ninja0980 says:

    I’m not sure if they can or not but in the case of Newsom,the marriages were nullified because he issued licenses on his own despite a state law banning them.
    In the case of the marriages issued right before Prop 8,the courts had struck down the law so licenses issued then were valid.
    Not sure what will happen with Utah but I can’t imagine them negating the marriages.

  43. The_Fixer says:

    Followed by L. Ron Rubbard.

  44. FLL says:

    A bit off-topic: Judge Black’s ruling today in Ohio, although it only applies to death certificates, could speed up the marriage equality process quite a bit because of the sweeping constitutional arguments that the federal district court judge uses(link here.) Judge Black argues that a same-sex couple has “the right to remain married” even if they cross state lines:

    The right to remain married is therefore properly recognized as one that is a fundamental liberty interest appropriately protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. Here, Ohio’s marriage recognition bans violate this fundamental right without rational justification…once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away, because the right to remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1.

    Judge Black apparently recognizes that if Loving v. Virginia (1967) mandated that “another state cannot summarily take your marriage away” in the case of interracial straight couples who cross state lines, neither can another state “summarily take your marriage away” in the case of same-sex couples today who cross state lines after having been legally married in a state with marriage equality. To argue otherwise, the U.S. Supreme Court would have to reverse itself on Loving v. Virginia and allow Mississippi or Alabama to resume summarily taking away the marriages of interracial straight couples. Um… how can I put this gently? I think we can see the endgame in plain view.

  45. Whitewitch says:

    I think Joseph Smith would have like this very much and that cosmically this is a perfect reality for Utah…wake up Utah – your founder was a Freethinking Guy – you should be too.

    I can not think of a Merrier Solstice, Christmas, or Season of Joy than to be able to marry the person you love most.

    Blessed Be to all those who are now free to love and marry who they will.

  46. heimaey says:

    Joseph Smith…one of the best con men in history.

  47. Are the courts going to un-marry potentially thousands of gay couples? Happened to us. My husband and I first got married in San Francisco in 2004 when Mayor Newsom gave the gay marriage go ahead. That was several months before gay marriages started in Massachusetts. But a few months later the courts ruled all 4,000 of those San Francisco marriages null and void. Can the court leave some gays married but tell others that they’ll never be permitted to marry? Happened to us too. In 2008 we married again when California legalized gay marriage. But a few months later along came Prop 8, and the marriages stopped. But some months after that the courts ruled that while no more gays could marry in California, the marriages of the 18,000 gay couples that had already married remained valid. Sounds kooky, huh? But not as kooky as the stuff Joseph Smith pulled out of his hat, i.e., the Book of Mormon. Happy birthday, Joe! Sorry you couldn’t live to see all this.

  48. Steven Jaeger says:

    Actually it was a Federal Judge, This has the impact of requiring states to recognize marriages done in other states; one of the options many states have done to try to prevent gay marriage rights is to put into law and / or constitutional changes that the state will not recognize gay marriages performed in other states. However, many believe this will go down under full faith and credit, with the analogy it could allow multi-state polygamy either intentionally or inadvertently by not recognizing other marriages, or by not recognizing divorces. Granted this was only in death certificates, which was what the case was about. Next case can go for the whole shebang. Someone want to move to OHIO and sue for recognition after being married in one of the other states?

  49. kevinbgoode says:

    Update, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune – Judge denies AG’s request to halt same-sex marriages. . .State begging 10th District Court in Denver to issue one

  50. Ugh, that again? I almost have to catch it myself, so I can inspect the code on it behind the scenes, or they’re impossible to stop. Advertising has gotten so complicated, and the advertisers and advg networks have such an ability to screw things up for us, and we have so little power to stop them. Anyway thanks, and I’ll keep an eye out.

  51. nicho says:

    I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the birthday of a man that had 34 wives,

    Not to mention the hundreds of women — many of them other men’s wives — who were “sealed with the prophet” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) in the temple ceremony. Why do you think Smith invented the super-secret temple ceremony? So he could boink every woman who came along.

  52. Monoceros Forth says:

    I had a Latin teacher at SDSU named Joseph Smith. This guy, actually: Damn, I really liked him.

  53. UncleBucky says:

    I heard that Joseph Smith was re-baptized as gay today. I read it in a book, so that it must be true. ;o)

    Serves them right…

  54. HereinDC says:

    off topic…. John, one of those AdChoices ads ( Trust Obama?) keeps blockiing some of your article. I can’t seem to find a way to delete the ad. There’s no X tp click it off.

  55. Indigo says:

    Ohio? Now with the latest dodge on the issue, okay but only when you’re already dead. Creative, Ohio, creative. Now wake up!

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