Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pumpkin Bread and Equality

I hate pumpkin bread. But this is quite a story.

Eric Ethington and Elaine Ball, founders of the grass-roots, service-oriented Pride in Your Community, stopped Republican Sen. Chris Buttars in his driveway on Saturday morning to share some home-baked bread and conversation.

Buttars invited Ball, Ethington and two other gay activists inside his home for what turned into an hourlong chat about Equality Utah's Common Ground Initiative, a collection of Democratic-backed bills that would provide some legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Utahns.

"I don't think we were expecting such a warm welcome," Ball said. "It was nice to be invited in."

The bread-and-Buttars discussion chipped away some stereotypes on both sides.

"That group has been hostile to me for many years," Buttars said Tuesday. "They said, 'Hi,' and it was easy to recognize they weren't there to argue or to condemn me. They were there to talk."

He called it one of the few conversations he has had with members of the LGBT community that "wasn't hostile."

Ball initially felt nervous about meeting the conservative legislator, who has tried to thwart Salt Lake City's domestic-partnership registry and student clubs for gay high-schoolers.

Buttars teased her for cracking her knuckles -- a habit he confessed to having to break himself.

"We were probably all a little nervous," Ball said. "It was nice, as the time went on, to realize that we were actually being listened to."


  1. For anyone interested, Eric blogs at:

    And you can find Pride in Your Community on Facebook, if you'd like to join.

  2. Hey i stayed away from calling into the show tonight on this subject because i am looking forward to your serious that you just cant seem to get to.
    But as you read this story on the air i had only one thing come to mind
    you know in Aladdin when the Genni yells
    "He can be taught"!!!!!!!!

    Vis. Pres. Biddin of all people taught me this one thing
    in the debates with Pallin he talked to her about his own son in the military and an exsperiance he had when he was first started out in politics a mistake he made
    in judgeing peoples motives basicly that people have good intentions and can be good people even if they are on the wrong side of an issue as you are.
    Imagine all the people i study Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Jackson and it takes Bidden to teach me that
    Maybe Butters is just an old school senial man still trying to do some of what he thinks is good but he is still open maybe we just need to have the discusion at his home instead of on the floor of the capital
    shure would have saved alot of money restoring that building if all it took was some bread and a living room