Gay Marriage | Mormon | Utah Exec Says Churches Must Be Protected from Gays

The Deseret News came out with a weekend poll (jointly with KSL) that says 57 percent of Utahns oppose same-sex marriage and 36 percent support it. The poll also showed that 72 percent want places of worship protected from having to perform same-sex marriages.

J_johnsonOne business leader with a particularly strong opinion a high-ranking exec at

The Deseret News reports:

Jonathan Johnson, executive vice chairman of the online retailer and founder of the First Freedom PAC, said it's shocking to him that some people think churches don't need protection. He started the political action committee to combat what he sees as an assault on the First Amendment and to preserve the role of churches and religious associations in society.

"It makes me feel like if a same-gender couple goes to an orthodox Jewish rabbi and says, 'Marry us in your synagogue,' the 22 percent would say he has to say yes," he said.

"I'm surprised that anyone thinks that the government should force religions to do things," he said. "But because the religious liberties issue today is so tied to the same-sex marriage issue, I can see why it's a sore spot for people."

Looks like they're overstocked on bigotry in Utah.

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  1. First, The Deseret News and KSL are owned by a division of The Church of Latter Days Saints so they are to non-biased reporting as Fox News is to The Republican Party.

    Second, therefore, the skewed results of their polling are not surprising.

    Third, churches need protection from the self-righteous within their own congregations. If any person or group of persons will open up churches to legal challenge, it's the congregants and leaders who take church politicking to the Nth degree in fighting "the icky others" against which they exhibit great animus.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jan 20, 2014 9:12:23 AM

  2. That's asinine, no one is forcing churches to perform same sex marriages. If a church decides to perform marriage, they should be able; otherwise a civil marriage -RECOGNIZED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND CONSIDERED A VALID MARRIAGE BY OTHER ENTITIES - is what is being asked for.

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 20, 2014 9:12:33 AM

  3. "I'm surprised that anyone thinks that the government should force religions to do things," he said. "But because the religious liberties issue today is so tied to the same-sex marriage issue, I can see why it's a sore spot for people."

    Well, Mr. Johnson, I am surprised that churches rode the waves of hate for as long as they have and gotten away with it. You worry about churches being protected, and you should. You've overstepped church & state rules down through the ages and the tide is turning.

    Make no mistake, the separation is coming in spite of your kicking and screaming. As equality SLOWLY but SURELY makes it way across this great nation of ours (OURS! It belongs to all of us - EQUALLY!) then the only thing you'll have to look back on is the slow-moving train wreck of hate you yourself caused.

    Govern yourself accordingly.

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 20, 2014 9:17:11 AM

  4. The free exercise clause in the first amendment prohibits the government from interfering with a person's practice of their religion.

    The government can't force religions to do things. They can force equal treatment when it comes to the public sector which is COMPLETELY different than freedom of religion.

    I am so tired of kowtowing to religious nuts who don't understand religious rights or our the constitution.

    It's the same as free speech. You have the right to say what you want without retribution from the state. That doesn't mean you can say what you want and not have to deal with the backlash of the public.

    Idiots. Every freaking one of them.

    Posted by: Joshua | Jan 20, 2014 9:17:44 AM

  5. Big old case of "gay face." And there's no cure.

    Posted by: Chad | Jan 20, 2014 9:20:23 AM

  6. Poor, stupid man - NOBODY would force ANYBODY to have to marry ANYONE in your raggedy-ass, bigoted, narrow minded church. Now go loosen your too tight Mormon underwear and chill out, Mr. Fearmonger.

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 20, 2014 9:21:50 AM

  7. This guy is a fear-mongering liar. He's trying to stir up fear in church-going people with the lie "they're coming for us! They're coming for us! Help!"

    Posted by: RWG | Jan 20, 2014 9:22:55 AM

  8. It’s very clear that churches already have the right to not to sanction any marriage with which they don’t agree.

    Therefore, this statement is meant to agitate, not to inform. Furthermore, deliberately misleading people as to what the law is not protected speech. Since “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” citizens should at least have the right not to be misled as to what the law is.

    Posted by: Gay Guy | Jan 20, 2014 9:24:17 AM

  9. Well, IMHO, if an organization is subsidized by the taxpayer, (ie- tax exempt for both income and property) they must follow rules of fairness. If a tax-exempt organization has a problem with that, then they can start paying taxes like the rest of us. It pisses me off that these "entitled" businesses, (and make no mistake they ARE businesses)spout demands while benefitting from not having to pay for anything (infrastructer, fire or police services) to make their businesses more viable so they can spread (indoctrinate) their morality.

    Posted by: ToThePoint | Jan 20, 2014 9:24:44 AM

  10. The difference between Salt Lake Tribune vs KSL and Deseret has been unreal to witness regarding marriage equality and the way each report what's been going on in Utah. KSL has been a bit more moderate. Deseret far to the right, SLT clearly liberal.

    As for Jonathan here, no-one gay wants to marry in his bigoted church anyway, so he has nothing to worry about, outside of his own ignorance.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 20, 2014 9:30:12 AM

  11. He stopped just short of saying gays = pedophiles.

    Posted by: bkmn | Jan 20, 2014 9:35:11 AM

  12. If such a stupid person can rise so high in the ranks of Overstock what else is wrong there?

    Very unwise decision with respect to his continued employment and /or the sales levels at Overstock.

    Posted by: james st. james | Jan 20, 2014 9:37:09 AM

  13. I'm certain they won't be crying in their beer about this, but I won't ever get anything from again.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jan 20, 2014 9:38:41 AM

  14. Freedom of religion was supposed to mean freedom of worship. In the sense that you can belong to any religion you want and not be punished for it. Which is what happened for centuries.

    It has since morphed into a disgusting, life-threatening monster. Now it's the idea that you can do anything to anyone without consequences as long you say it's for religious reasons.

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 20, 2014 9:40:16 AM

  15. I don't know any country when churches has the obligation of perform same sex weddings.

    SSM is something that public offices are obligated to perform by law, but not churches that has their own laws in that matter.

    I don't know how it works on the USA, but that's how it works in Spain, and SSM in Spain has almost a decade of life

    Posted by: jjose712 | Jan 20, 2014 9:42:53 AM

  16. This is a stupid and leading poll question. And his interpretation of it is even more stupid.
    If you asked the parallel question he alludes to ("Do synagogues need protection from having to hold Christian ceremonies?") most people would probably say no. I would also say no to the poll question about same-sex ceremonies.
    The reason they don't "need" protection is that they ALREADY have iron-clad guaranteed right to not have to perform any ceremony they don't want to. Even when the "protection" wording has been added in some states, it has been ridiculously redundant and not really there to accomplish anything but to appease irrational people.

    Try asking a question like "Do Americans need protection from being forced to eat oatmeal for breakfast?" and a lot of people will say no. It's not that they think people should be forced to do anything; it's just that that freedom is already there, is under NO real threat and the people who imagine that any church anywhere in America has been required by the government to marry ANYBODY are just paranoid.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 20, 2014 9:58:38 AM

  17. The Salt Lake Tribune did a poll last week that showed Utah is split evenly on the question if same-sex marriage should be allowed in the state. I'd be very wary of a poll conducted by KSL or the desert news. They didn't report on the Salt Lake tribune's findings or even compare them in their article. As for, I'm really disappointed because the founder of the company has been very pro-gay.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jan 20, 2014 10:02:43 AM

  18. Stupid or lying? That's the perennial question with these people.
    I go with lying.

    Posted by: sjorgl | Jan 20, 2014 10:02:50 AM

  19. I didn't realize that I, a gentile, could force a Jewish Orthodox rabbi to marry me to a woman. What? I can't? So then how would I make him marry me to a man? He's not this stupid. He's lying because lies are all they have in their arsenal to deny rights to gay people.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jan 20, 2014 10:06:28 AM

  20. Get thee hence, mormon.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Jan 20, 2014 10:15:26 AM

  21. The independent poll (not the Mormon-sponsored one) said that 48% were in favor of marriage equality, 48% were opposed, and 4% undecided.

    Posted by: Moroni | Jan 20, 2014 10:30:34 AM

  22. Because look at all the Catholic churches forced to marry divorcees, and at all the Baptists forced to do Muslim weddings. It's a travesty, I tells ya!

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Jan 20, 2014 10:44:03 AM

  23. More ignorant trash from ignorant trash. The first amendment already means that a church or any other house of worship does not have to perform any marriage they don't support. The REAL violation of religious liberty it the fact that LGBT affirming houses of worship and religious leaders can not perform marriages between 2men or 2women and have the marriage recognized in the eyes of the law all because the anti-gay religious-reich has decided that get tell other people who they can and cannot practice their religious beliefs in their church. It is liberal religious practices whose religious liberties are being violated.

    Posted by: Sean | Jan 20, 2014 11:00:53 AM

  24. Wow, piss off the major users of your site.

    Aaaand, Overstock stock plummets.

    Posted by: Bubba | Jan 20, 2014 11:06:58 AM

  25. "Looks like they're overstocked on bigotry in Utah." Overstocked on stupidity as well. Religious institutions have never been forced to bless the marriages of anyone they don't want to. Why do they talk as though the marriages of same sex couples would be the only exception to this freedom they have always had?

    Posted by: john patrick | Jan 20, 2014 11:15:09 AM

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