Paul Rolly: Give Gayle Ruzicka credit for gay marriages?
Published: December 27, 2013 09:53AM
Updated: December 26, 2013 10:05PM
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Paul Rolly

The Utah Eagle Forum staunchly opposes same-sex marriage and stood as one of the biggest supporters of Amendment 3, which constitutionally mandated that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

So it seems like some kind of karma that, at least to some observers, Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka was partially responsible for the hundreds of same-sex marriages performed since U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled last week that the state’s constitutional ban against gay marriage violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Attorneys tell me that any good lawyer in a case like that one would have already requested the judge stay any decision before a ruling is issued. The Utah attorney general’s office has been criticized by conservative groups for not doing so before Shelby ruled against the state.

The office has been in disarray for months while recently resigned Attorney General John Swallow fought allegations of wrongdoing and investigations into his practices.

One of the things that gave Swallow hope that the investigations would go away, some close to the office say, was the support he received from Ruzicka, a powerful political force at the Legislature. She even gathered signatures at the Republican convention to a petition denouncing the Swallow probes.

Their mutual admiration overflowed at the Utah Eagle Forum’s annual meeting in January, when Swallow predicted that “when [Ruzicka] passes, she’ll be going straight to the Celestial Kingdom” — the highest level of heaven in LDS Church theology.

Had Swallow not gotten that false hope from the Eagle Forum, he may have stepped down earlier and attorneys in his office, without those distractions, might have remembered to have the stay motion ready to go. Had a good argument already been in place, such thinking goes, perhaps those hundreds of same-sex marriages would have been delayed.

So all newly married gay and lesbian couples should give a hardy thanks to Ruzicka.

Speaking of karma • One of Swallow’s greatest political adversaries has been fellow Republican Tim Bridgewater, who lost the GOP primary race for the 2nd Congressional District to Swallow in 2002 and 2004. Both times Swallow eventually lost in the general election to Democrat Jim Matheson.

Bridgewater backers publicly complained that Swallow’s campaign tactics against their candidate were underhanded. Similar allegations surfaced against Swallow when he was a campaign strategist for Sen. Mike Lee, who beat Bridgewater in the GOP primary in 2010.

So it must have been the leprechauns, fairies, elves and satyrs conspiring to create mischief when Swallow announced his resignation Nov. 21 — Bridgewater’s birthday.

Clever campaign strategies • State Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis has been known to take political advantage of every unforeseen event that might give him and his party an edge.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that when hundreds of same-sex couples lined up outside the Salt Lake County clerk’s office to get marriage licenses Monday, several Democratic strategists were circulating through the crowd to register people to vote.

Chances are, most of the people in that group will vote Democratic.

Recycling works • Spotted in Salt Lake City recently was a man standing on a street corner holding one of those all-too-familiar signs saying that he was homeless and asking for donations.

It was written on the back of a “Ben McAdams for Mayor” sign.

prolly@sltrib.com