A group of forthright outsiders is working to stir up locals against Logan's proposed laws aimed at protecting gay people from discrimination.
"They're (the Logan Municipal Council) going to give them (homosexuals) freedoms and take away freedoms from others. We should have the right to not associate with someone who is homosexual," said 55-year-old Sandra Rodrigues, of Sandy, speaking by phone from Angie's Restaurant early Monday. "I don't want to be served by someone with AIDS in the kitchen - I mean, I have those worries. I'm sorry."
Rodrigues leads a group calling itself America Forever, which dispatched a dozen agitators, all from the Salt Lake area, to Logan on Saturday - that day they protested near the homes of Councilwoman Holly Daines and Councilman Herm Olsen. On Sunday, members of the group showed up outside the church that Council Chairman Jay Monson attends.
Signs they hoisted read: "Shame on Holly Daines for becoming a gay activist," and "Sexual Orientation is not a class" and "Jay Monson hates children."
Later Sunday, members of the group distributed door-to-door in Monson's neighborhood a flier reading: "Shame on Councilmen Olsen, Monson, Daines for joining hands with the gay movement and becoming homosexual activists to oppress religious citizens freedoms."
On Monday, the group demonstrated outside City Hall in the morning and evening.
The crew came to town after the Municipal Council late last week revived ordinances banning discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Councilman Herm Olsen introduced the measures May 5 with Monson's support but a majority of council members decided to put them on the backburner, postponing any consideration until August. At the time, Councilwoman Holly Daines questioned if the ordinances were needed in Logan.
"I didn't think there was a problem in Cache Valley; that opinion has changed," wrote Daines in a letter sent to colleagues last week. "Although I am still concerned with the logistics of the ordinance, or the ‘letter of the law,' I have come to believe that the ‘spirit of the law' - or the message we send by its passage - outweighs my concerns."
In an interview, Daines said: "We may disagree with their (homosexuals) choices but that's even more reason to respect them."
Daines did not respond to a phone message left for her Monday; Olsen too did not respond to a message.
"Their tactics are not my tactics," said Monson on Monday. "It doesn't make sense," he said of the arguments and the sign saying he hates children - Monson worked for decades as a schoolteacher and professor of education at Utah State University.
Despite the weekend fireworks, Monson said, "overwhelmingly people are telling me the city should do this."
Monson ruled Monday to allow only Logan residents to speak at a public hearing regarding the ordinances Tuesday night; later in the day he eased up, deciding people from out of town could talk during the last twenty minutes of the scheduled hourlong hearing. Because the ordinances are not the kind requiring public hearings by law, Monson could exclude speakers if he so chose, said City Attorney Kymber Housley.
"We want to hear the other side, but we want to hear the other side from people who live here," said Monson.
On Monday afternoon, Rodrigues and her team held a "town hall" meeting in a conference room at The Crystal Inn in south Logan. No visitors were on hand while she had it out with someone on the phone at about 4 p.m. No one showed up all afternoon, but the group did receive upward of 50 phone calls and e-mails from locals arguing against their message and tactics. Rodrigues ditched the town hall and ended up demonstrating at City Hall late in the afternoon, drawing stares, jeers and reprimands from passers-by.
Kenny Coons, 29, and his 27-year-old wife, Buffy, spied the picketers as they walked from their car to the library. Buffy said she's all for people expressing their views but that personally she thought the messages were "just not cool."
Kenny said his stepbrother is gay and that he supports the ordinances.
After the council shelved the proposals May 5, Maure Smith, program coordinator of Utah State University's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender and Ally Services, described the local GLBT community's response as "sheer outrage" and "utter dismay."
"It was a sense of ‘you've got to be kidding me,'" she said.
Ordinance supporters flooded council members with correspondence.
"I think they were moved to action because it was so clear council members didn't understand the issues," said Smith.
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, West Valley City and Park City have already passed laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The statewide group Equality Utah is pushing a "Ten in 2010" campaign encouraging 10 cities or counties to approve anti-discrimination laws before the Legislature convenes in 2011. Group leaders said at that time they could push for a state law; a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll found 66 percent of Utahns support statewide protections.
Rodrigues, who described gay people as "conniving," said the Logan ordinances and similar ones in other cities are part of gay peoples' agenda to "flaunt" their lifestyle, to forcefully expose straight people to homosexuality, say at the office Christmas party where a gay couple "would kiss and hold hands and nobody would be able to say anything" or in the workplace lunchroom where they might openly discuss sexual activity. Homosexuals want to be in a position to entice children to try out being gay, she said.
"This is what the gays want," she said. "It's really insane if you think about it."
The public hearing on Logan's proposed ordinances is set for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall, 290 N. 100 West.