Governor Grinch

Gary Herbert
Every Gay down in Zion
Liked Gay Marriage a lot…
But the Gov, Who lived just North of Downtown,
Did NOT!

The Gov hated Gay Marriage! And all Gay Marriage Laws!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the cause.
It could be that his head was screwed on by the Right.
It could be, perhaps, that his primaries were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason,
His heart or his fear,
He stood there on Friday,
watching marriages with a sneer
Staring down from his Mansion
with a sour, Govy frown
At the gays taking vows
below in his town.

For he knew every Gay down in Zion below
Was busy now, standing in line in the snow.
“And they’re handing out licenses!” he snarled with a sneer.
“The Gay Marriage Apocalypse! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his Gov fingers nervously tapping,
“I MUST find a way to keep homos from happying!”

For, tomorrow, he knew
All the Gay girls and boys
Would wake up bright and early.
They’d rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the boys!
Oh, the boys! Boys! Boys! Boys!
That’s one thing he hated!

Then all Whomans, young and old, of every orientation,
will start marrying and marrying without a hint of cessation
And they’ll marry, and they’ll marry.
And they’ll marry, marry, marry, marry!
They’ll marry and marry and still they won’t cease!
Oh committed legal gay relationships are something I can’t stand in the least!

They’d do something he liked least of all!
Every Gay down in Zion, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, like they’re dressed for the Emmys.
They’d stand hand-in-hand. And the Gays would start FAMILIES!

They’d sing! And they’d sing!
And the more the Gov thought of the Gay-Marriage-Sing
The more the Gov thought, “I must stop this whole thing!
“Why for fifty-three hours I’ve put up with it now!
I MUST stop Gay families from forming!
…But HOW?”

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!

“I know just what to do!” the Gov laughed in his throat.
“I’ll make a quick evangelist’s hat and a coat.
And he chuckled and clucked, what great Gov’y fun.
With this coat and this hat, I’ll look just like Pat Robertson!”

“All I need is a legally viable argument…”
The Gov looked around.
But since legally viable arguments
against gay marriage are scarce,
there was none to be found.

Did that stop the old Gov…?
No! The Gov simply said,
“If I can’t find a legally viable argument, I’ll fake one instead!” ”

He loaded some arguments
Of the 1950s sort
In a ramshakle brief
And he headed to court.

“This is stop number one,” The old Grinchy Gov hissed
And he summoned the judge, with a hamfisted fist.
Then he lobbed an emergency stay, a rather tight shove,
but if Shelby could do it, then so could the Gov.
He got stuck only once for a minute or two,
then the AG stuck his head out—that was his cue.
Down to where gay companions lined up all in a row
“These licenses,” He gov’ed, “are the first things to go!”

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most disparaging,
Around the whole room, and he took every marriaging!

As the Gov filed another motion with his legal cohort,
he heard a loud sound that brought him up short.
He turned around fast, and he saw two gay Whomans,
J Seth Anderson and Michael Adam Ferguson.

They stared at the Gov and said, “Governor, why?
Why are you taking our human dignity? Why?”
But do you know, that old Gov was so smart and so slick,
that he thought up what he thought was the truth and he thought it up quick.

“Why, my two legal citizens, “the self-appointed State Moralist lied
“marriage is a relationship that only serves one side.
So I’m taking it home to my Gov-friendly court, my dears.
I’ll fix it up there, then I’ll bring it back here.”

But his fib didn’t fool the Whomen,
even when he patted their heads and got them a drink,
making them dizzy with moral arguments that were so very weak.
Then he went to the microphone himself, the old liar,
and the last thing he took was their right to SIRE.
And the one speck of legal rights that he left in their house
was a crumb of protection much too small for a spouse.

And then he did the same thing
to the other gays’ marriages,
leaving a definition much too small
for their love to disparage.

It was quarter past dawn…
All the Gays, still a-sleep
All the Gays, still a-snooze
When he filed his brief,

Challenged their rights! Their joy! Their equality!
Their families! Their boutonnieres of unprecedented quality!

“Pooh-pooh to the gays!”
the Gov grinchily brayed.
“They’re finding out now their gay weddings are stayed!
They’re just waking up, I know just what they’ll do.
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
then the gays down in Zion will all cry, ‘Boo Hoo.'”

“That’s a noise,” grinned the Gov,
“That I simply must hear!”
So he paused. And the Gov put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow…
But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY

He stared down at Zion!
The Gov popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Gay down in Zion, the boys and the girls,
Were loving their families, not ruining the world!
He HADN’T stopped loving families from forming!
Somehow or other, they loved just the same!

And the Gov, with his gov-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without dresses, without suits from fine tailors.
It came without cakes, without fabulous regalias!.”
Maybe weddings, he thought, don’t come from a store.
Maybe weddings, he thought, mean a little bit more.

And what happened then?
Well, in Zion they say
That the Governor’s compassion
Grew three sizes that day!

And right then, filled with love, he quickly got up off his
Chair and he drove to the County Clerk’s office
And he brought back the joy! (And how’s this for an ending?!)
He, HE HIMSELF, The Gov!
performed a gay wedding!


  1. Gets better everytime I read it. Just in time for The Wheaties.

  2. Wow! Alaska is boring by comparison. ;-)

  3. Steve Evans says:

    Does he have a little dog named Max? It seems to me that he should.

  4. I think the dog’s name is Brian Tarbet.

  5. Great perspective on current events. The best editorial I’ve read yet. Thanks.

  6. Totally nailed it.

  7. I love this! Brilliant!

  8. forwardjoe says:

    Very creative. I bet it is easier to enjoy this though when you imagine that those against gay marriages are all grinches.

  9. Merry Christmas y’all. Bravo.

  10. Leonard R. says:

    Brilliant! Hurrah for all the gays in Zion (but especially liked the shout-out for Michael and Seth)!

  11. Ditto, forwardjoe. I am for civil rights, not so much for the marriage thing. I guess time will tell what impact this will have. That said, I love my gay friends and wish them we’ll.

  12. Latter-day Guy says:

    That was fantastic.

  13. I guess it is easier to take pot shots at Utah’s Gov… rather than those other opponents of gay marriage, like the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve. But then many of you would realize that your faith and political views are at odds. So whose side are you on?

  14. I just now realized for the first time ever that some of my political, social, and even religious beliefs might be slightly outside the Mormon mainstream and even different than those of its leaders at times. Old Man, without your relentless, penetrating scolding I may never have come to this point. Thank you, sir, and merry Christmas to all!

  15. Casey,
    I can only speak for myself, but it is not bothersome that some members see this issue differently as we each see nuance in doctrine and policy on a variety of issues. What disturbs me about things like this post and others is that they seem to perpetuate the belief that to be against gay marriage is to be against love, to be without a rational basis…. that all of the opposition is just a bunch of grinches who don’t see the light. Members of the church should know better.

  16. Enjoyed this! Forwarding it on…

  17. Awesome, Brad, this is just a classic!
    And not trying to jack your thread, but…
    Sonny and I were thinking, instead of the National Guard, they need to send in
    The Village People! (LOL cue music…)

    Gay man, there’s no need to feel down
    I said gay man, pick yourself off the ground
    I said gay man, ’cause you’re in a new world,
    There’s no need to be unmarried.

    Gay friend, there’s a place some have fled
    I said gay friend, when they’re ready to wed
    You can go there and I’m sure you will find
    Legal ways to marry this time

    It’s fun to marry in U.T.A.H.
    It’s fun to marry in U.T.A.H.
    (So long as you don’t live in Utah Countay)
    You can get yourself hitched today!

    It’s fun to marry in U.T.A.H.
    It’s fun to marry in U.T.A.H.
    You can take your groom, you can take your bride,
    With Boy Scouts, pizza, and PRIDE!


  18. Can someone persuade Jon Huntsman Jr. to make a come back?

  19. Yeah man — anyone who opposes changing the legal definition of marriage is pure evil. Amirite??

  20. Nicely done Brad.

  21. I’d never suggest that to be opposed to gay marriage is to oppose love, just that it demonstrates a highly myopic view of it! Now, as to the lacking of a rational basis…Well, yeah, guilty as charged. I’ll happily level that charge at gay marriage opponents.

  22. Well done, Brad!

  23. Brad:
    I know General Tarbet and members of his family. They are all wonderful people. It seems to me that many of those making comments in support of SSM are making the exact same mistake that they have been leveling at those who support traditional marriage. They are forgetting that the opposition are actually real, flesh and blood human beings. But then, it is much more fun to picture them as a caricature… and it makes them easier to ridicule.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  24. forwardjoe says:

    Once again, as a member of the church, you should know better than to think that opponents of gay marriage have no rational basis. Again, not saying you have to align with the church or with me on this. There is room for disagreement. But you should at least be informed enough to know that the opposition is motivated by real and rational position.

  25. Negative, ghost rider. It is motivated almost exclusively by religious reasoning. In a civil context there is simply no rational basis to oppose gay marriage. Without assuming certain religious beliefs, solid arguments against it simply don’t exist. Which isn’t to say people haven’t tried, just that the results have been poorly argued and based on misinformation, which, I believe, is exactly the argument Shelby made. I don’t doubt that many church members against gay marriage are sincere and acting in good faith, but that’s also irrelevant, because sincere =/ rational. Anyway, last-minute Christmas shopping awaits and these debates never change anyone’s mind anyway, so cheers!

  26. “But you should at least be informed enough to know that the opposition is motivated by real and rational position.”

    I am a member of the church and I unequivocally disagree with this statement.

  27. Brad and Casey — Is there a rational reason to oppose consensual adult incestuous marriage or is opposition that type of marriage entirely irrational or religiously based in your estimation?

  28. So opponents of SSM are grinches with small hearts who can’t conceive that gay couples can experience love?

    Yes, well done indeed. This post really moves the conversation forward.

  29. “So opponents of SSM are grinches with small hearts who can’t conceive that gay couples can experience love?”

    Pretty much nails it, actually.

    Geoff, is there a rational basis for opposing horse-diapering? IS THERE?!?

  30. Not all opponents. Just you.

  31. @Steve, lolz

  32. Brad: The Artful Dodger.

  33. And like a dog to his vomit, I return to the internet argument.

    Geoff, I certainly feel an initial negative reaction to the idea of incestuous marriage. I’d call it more cultural than religious, though. I have no idea where the science is in regards to birth defects and all that, so, nope, no rational arguments from me.

  34. Incidentally, I feel the same about Kardashians marrying.

  35. I apologize, Geoff. I must have confused your “you don’t accept X, therefore you probably don’t accept [not X]” for some kind of logical deflection/irrelevancy.

  36. Yes, Steve, lolz. Thankfully, as a supporter of SSM I can sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge my heart is a normal size.

  37. Thanks Casey. That’s a reasonable answer.

  38. On a more serious note, it’s also a profoundly stupid comparison to play in “gotcha” fashion, not just because incest taboos are profoundly pre-/non-rational but because the anxiety around it is diametrically opposite that of excluding homosexuals from marriage: with gays, it’s the fact of non-procreation that acts as the “trump card”; with incest, it’s the specter _of_ procreation.

  39. Brad,

    You’re clearly no Casey.

    No doubt your smug taunting in this post has brought you much satisfaction. So kudos to you on that and Merry Christmas.

  40. Can we, especially at Christmas, be generous with those who grapple –albeit awkwardly–with the implications of same sex marriage? There are many profound, eternal questions and implications that I personally ponder for my gay friends and family members as we consider the implications of gay marriage. Perhaps some of the understandable happiness they feel at this ruling can be extended to others, deserving or not. Yes, people are doing stupid things. Yes, this is difficult for many people. More peace and good will, please.

  41. Amen.

  42. Hilarious — and pitch-perfect. I know it’s a parody, but I really do think that many “gay marriage” advocates think of the issue in exactly this way, picturing their opponents as nasty old grinches who want to stop loving families from forming. Really. I’ll bet you could post this on any pro-gay website and people would eat it up.

  43. Just in time for Christmas. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  44. This is indeed the least insightful post I have ever seen on this site. What’s its purpose? What are you trying to argue? That gay-marriage opponents are just mean spirited bigots? You say they have no rational basis. Please give me a rational basis for government recognized marriage at all! Tell me why married couples get at tax break but roommates don’t. Tell me why we limit marriage to two people? Tell me why love between two people must be certified by the state before hospital visitation rights are granted. Tell me why a newlywed gay couple should be granted a whole suite of rights that unwed citizens are denied. Certainly there are more cohabitating couples being discriminated against than there are gay couples wanting to get married.
    The problem with marriage laws is that they are predominantly arbitrary products of public opinion. Both proponents and opponents of same sex marriage have irrational socially biased concepts of marriage. Just because the circle you draw defining marriage is more inclusive than the circle drawn by someone else doesn’t make you more rational or enlightened or compassionate. Similarly, you don’t become a Grinch just because someone draws a more inclusive circle than yourself.
    It’s more than a little ironic that a post on a blog entitled ‘by common consent’ would take the opinion of a state’s majority so lightly.

  45. ‘ever’?? Wow.

  46. Hey, don’t forget about gay women!!

  47. It’s kinda like….Gay Marriage is not biblically sound, but if it’s done out of love…it’s okay…kinda like murder is not biblically sound unless done out of compassion, or robbing the rich to feed the poor….people don’t see in black and white anymore…nothing but grey.

  48. Women not covering their heads in church is not biblically sound. Yet I go to church and not a single woman has her head covered, they sit there in the pews brazen as can be, every single one of them. My own mother… all my life…head uncovered. My mother is basically a murderer. She murders the Spirit with her head. Grey, the world is grey. Heads uncovered….The horror. The horror….There are too many clouds to see the sea, and the river that leads to the ends of the earth looks somber beneath the overcast sky. It seems to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.

  49. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. And we understand that we must not be compelled to choose right from wrong, but must make these choices of our own free will. Yet we elect officials to outlaw choice in number of areas from abortion, to marriage, be it polygamy or same sex, claiming that me must outlaw wrong choices. Someone out there please explain why we do this!

  50. Cynthia L. says:

    “This is indeed the least insightful post I have ever seen on this site.”

    Surely we can gather some links to show dms that that category is more competitive than he thinks.

  51. Dale – it’s not “wrong choices” that are outlawed, it’s actions (and sometimes beliefs) that are perceived as harmful to others and/or to society in general. In terms of gay marriage (and I suppose plural marriage too), those perceived harmful actions have in the past usually coincided with what the majority also considered to be “wrong choices,” but now that is changing. What does that mean for our society? Research and anecdotal experience seem to indicate that what we thought was harmful may not be so. All we’re left with, then, is “it’s just not right,” and that does not hold much water in the face of the way we have traditionally made laws to protect ourselves and our societal interests. There is also the warning of King Mosiah to make things even more alarming: “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land” (Mosiah 29:26). For a person who believes that something is set up or approved by God in a certain way, it’s tough to tread the line between being compassionate and tolerant of those who disagree and choosing (or sanctioning) perceived iniquity. Really tough.

  52. Villate,
    We, in the fullness of times, understand the concept of the tyranny of the majority, which is why we have laws and constitutions limiting the ability of the majority to make bad decisions for the minority. This is also why we have judges to weigh the effects of laws against this perceived tyranny of the majority. We do not, fortunately, have to always wait for the judgements of God to correct for such tyranny.

    How can you tell if it is the tyranny of the majority? If a minority is being impacted negatively for no reason except for the baseless opinion or the benefit of the majority. The court battles over SSM have been exactly to this point: there are no demonstrable reasons for the anti SSM laws except for the opinion of a majority.

    There are a multitude of reasons for a society to prohibit polygamy and incest. It might be possible to allow polygamy under constraints, however, to insure that people and society are not hurt by the practice.

  53. Villate,

    I have considered King Mosiah’s address. At a time when the people liked Kings, he pointed out that righteous Kings were a blessing to the people but that there was no guarantee that righteousness was inherited. The alternative, having democracy in the long run was better. Most but not all of the time, the people’s choice was best.So we now appear to elect officials who will make choices for us about what we say or do, choices even a majority of us approve. In the beginning 1/3 of us chose to follow someone who would be taking away our freedom of choice, compelling us to make righteous choices, not for our own good, but for his. It would appear that politics have been with us from before the worlds were created!

    So far in the case of both polygamy and same sex marriage, we who oppose it have failed time and time again to show in court any harm being caused, either to individuals or society, from its practice. But when we take away individual free choice, harm inevitably follows and the creator’s plan of salvation is thwarted. Are we not admonished to choose each day whom we will serve, serving the Lord and our fellow man, and not serve ourselves? Are we not serving the fears we have of ourselves when we deprive others of freedom of choice?

    I will make my own choices and do my best to teach others to do the same. And I recognize that society does imposes a set of laws to protect us all from the bad choices others make that cause us harm. But in the case where we can show no harm coming to us from the choices others make, I will choose to allow all their freedom of choice. Our Creator made that choice for 1/3 of his offspring. Who am I to not follow this lead!

  54. Dale, you seem to be confusing criminalizing with not actively endorsing and/or giving monetary incentives.

    I agree with your logic (with some added nuance) when we are seeking to outlaw or make illegal a particular behavior. If we are trying to make illegal homosexual or polygamous unions, the burden of proof probably falls on those who are trying to outlaw the behavior to show that these behaviors are harmful to society. The large majority of the population today seems to feel that we should not be regulating consensual adult sex (rather in favor of privacy and choice), and given this I am for the decriminalization of polygamy, homosexual unions, etc.

    However, this is not the issue with legalizing same-sex marriage. Homosexual relationships, unions, private marriages/ceremonies, etc. are already allowed in every state that I’m aware of. Choice, that you keep speaking of, is already available to same-sex couples. The question of same-sex marriage is whether we as a society wish to officially endorse that behavior, and offer it benefits and incentives on par with heterosexual marriage. In this scenario, it seems the burden of proof lies on those wishing to encode the behavior into gov’t law, to show that the benefits to couples, children, and society are on par with heterosexual marriage. From a biological and evolutionary perspective, this is certainly not the most intuitive conclusion. As far as I’m aware, we don’t just throw official approval, monetary incentives, and benefits at everything we cannot prove is harmful.

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