Yesterday, I heard on the radio that a member of the Utah Legislature, Kraig Powell, proposed an alternative to Utah's so-called "Zion Curtains" - partitions that are required in restaurants that serve alcohol so that the public's view of a bartender's mixing of alcoholic drinks is restricted. Powell proposed that restaurants be able to opt out of using the partition if they post a notice on all entrances and in their menus that reads: "Notice: This establishment dispenses and serves alcoholic products in public view."
There have been several attempts in the past few years in the Utah legislature to remove the "Zion Curtain" requirement; but this year, the LDS Church made the rare move of publicly opposing (as opposed to privately through discreet lobbyists) the barriers' removal, saying that separate alcohol preparation areas are part of an effective system for protecting against underage drinking, overconsumption and DUIs.
The real purpose, as everyone knows, is to try to hide the presence of alcohol in Utah society. The LDS Church takes the position that if alcohol is hidden, then the youth of Zion will be less likely to be enticed into drinking. But even the very conservative, very Republican, very Mormon Speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart, has called the partition "weird" and has said there's no evidence that it prevents children from taking up drinking.
When I heard the phrase "public view" on the radio, something clicked in my mind over which I've been ruminating for some time, i.e., the real reason why the State of Utah is so fiercely opposing marriage equality is that the State has constructed a "Zion Curtain" between its citizens who are LGBT and those who are not.
So long as the State can keep gays and lesbians out of the public view - whether through opposing same-sex marriage or nondiscrimination legislation or in other ways - it can - as it believes (and as the LDS Church hierarchy believes) - keep the youth of Zion from being "corrupted" by homosexuality. Marriage equality, however, will remove that curtain, exposing the reality of gays and lesbians and the love that they share to not only the youth of Zion but to all Utahns. And this is what the State of Utah - as well as many other states around the country - as well as the Mormon Church, fears.