Mercedes Allen

Scene From a Gay Struggle

Filed By Mercedes Allen | August 25, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: homophobic behavior, kidnapping, Utah

I'm going to go ahead with this one, because although both sides of the story seem incomplete somehow (the media coverage is missing the answers to some questions), there certainly is a bias on the part of legislators and heavy-handed homophobia involved in this situation.

There are two stories circulating regarding the evening of July 4th in South Salt Lake, Utah. In one, mother Tlulu Latu notices that her 2-year-old daughter is missing and retrieves her and the 4-year-old son of another relative from the home of a gay couple next door. In the other, party attendee (this is being disputed by the family) David Bell says the children were tired and distraught, and needed a quiet place to crash for the night, so he took them home. In both stories, after the children were returned home, the boy's father and two to four other relatives went to the Bell home, broke in and severely beat him and partner Dan Fair. Bell no longer can hear in his right ear; Fair had a large television brought down on his head.

Bell is to be arraigned on child kidnapping and burglary charges. Authorities are taking no action against the relatives. It remains to be seen what the childrens' story will be, but many expect it to be coached by the parents and / or inadmissable.

From the Deseret News:

The mother began hitting Bell before taking her children and leaving, according to Bell's attorney, Roger Kraft. As she was leaving, the mother warned the men they had better lock their doors, he said. Moments later, several adults from the children's house, including their father, broke into Bell's home from several points, breaking through the locked door and some windows, Kraft said.

Bell and Fair were beaten, with Fair getting the worst of it. At one point, the attackers smashed a TV set onto Fair's head. He suffered a broken eye socket and his forehead was split open badly enough that doctors had to use staples to put it back together.

Bell ran out of the house to escape but was caught in a neighbor's yard and beaten. He suffered two black eyes, and the side of his head and an ear were heavily injured after his head was repeatedly pounded into the pavement and his neck was cut with shards of glass.

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And I doubt we'll ever know what happened there.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 25, 2008 8:31 PM

Alex, we may never know what happened, but surely the family members who beat the two men should be prosecuted for breaking and entering and assault and battery, regardless of the circumstances. Even if the worse case scenario were true and the gay couple kidnapped the children--which I seriously doubt--the family had no right to take matters into their own hands, break into the neighbors' home, and beat them severely.

Absolutely, Brynn. This is terrible, but not surprising. It's Utah. And my family wonders why I never want to come and visit.

Well said, Brynn. No matter the circumstance, vigilante justice was clearly afoot here.
This news, which isn't really new since heterosexual "retributive justice" has only faded a bit over the years, but never died, depresses me greatly. My partner and I have a limited amount of close heterosexual friends and have almost no contact with children at all for fear of exactly this type of scenario. We smile and curtsey to straight people because we believe visability is one of the greatest weapons we have against homophobia. We're casual, but we don't get close.