Guest Editorial: An open letter to the guv |

Guest Editorial: An open letter to the guv

Jane Hoffman, Salt Lake City

Dear Governor Herbert,

Why do you want so vehemently to "unwind" my family? I’m struggling to understand.

I am not an activist. I’m a stay-at-home-mom. This week there will be undoubtedly be another rally, or a protest, and things have become so outrageous that I know I ought to go. But what I really want to do is take my kids sledding once they’re finished with preschool for the day. That’s where I belong.

My partner of nine years and I have both been dedicated school teachers because we care about our communities and want careers that can have a positive influence.

Now that we have two small children together, we’ve given up many personal luxuries so that I can stay home full time. We are willing to sacrifice anything it takes because our boys are more important than anything else in our lives. And we are very, very lucky to be able to make this choice for our children.

We pay our bills on time, we pay our taxes, we own a home, we obey the laws, we vote, we are friends with all our neighbors. We keep our walks shoveled in winter and our yard mown in summer. We bake our own bread, attempt a garden, and frequent the library.

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We have families and dear friends who love and support us and among them are Mormons, Methodists, Jews, Catholics, atheists, and too many more affiliations to list. We do our best to be civil, kind, and most of all respectful to everyone, and every day we strive to teach our sons to be the same.

We never wanted to rush out to a city clerk’s office in the midst of legal upheaval to be married. It was never my dream to express my vows alongside a dozen complete strangers for the sake of time-saving because we feared at any moment the clerk’s phone might ring with the order stop the whole process.

But we did those things. We did them because it would finally give us our chance to fully secure and protect our children. Even amongst our family and friends, most people do not realize that I have never been able to adopt my own children, that in the eyes of the State of Utah, I carry no recognition as their parent. We’ve both been their moms since conception, but without the benefits of marriage I am excluded from their birth certificates. And most terrifying of all, if something was to happen to their other mom, the State of Utah would view them as orphans. I would have no rights to ensure that I could keep and care for the children I have mothered since birth.

My partner and I both love Utah and can think of no better place to raise our family. We are Utahns. The turn of events here has been unexpected and surprising for all of us. But the tone and spirit of the response to these events by Utah’s leaders have been more than unexpected. They have been painful and insulting.

So please, Governor Herbert, help me to understand why it is worth any expense for Utah to deem us unequal and therefore unworthy of the rights afforded to all other Utahans. Please explain to me why you believe that in this secular country, under our Constitution, my rights to equal treatment under the law are actually up to voters, any voters, to decide, much less the voters of a decade ago.

I look forward to your answers.