Utah Lawmakers Want Out of United Nations
Feb. 2, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah House of Representatives voted Monday to urge Congress to withdraw from the United Nations, asserting the organization was a threat to American sovereignty.

It was a victory for state Rep. Don Bush, who for years has been trying to find approval for a nonbinding resolution expressing Utah's will to the president and Congress. A year ago his resolution was put on hold as President Bush unsuccessfully sought U.N backing for an invasion of Iraq.

This time the Utah House voted 42-33 in favor of "freeing the nation from a large financial burden and retaining the nation's sovereignty to decide what is best for the nation and determine what steps it considers appropriate as the leader of the free world in full control of its armed forces and destiny."

House Speaker and gubernatorial candidate Marty Stephens, R-Farr West, voted with the majority to send the resolution to the Senate for a concurring vote.

Some of Utah's conservative Republicans have long harbored fears that the United Nations was plotting to take over this country, do away with freedom, create a world government and levy a global tax.

"Are we out on the edge?" asked House Majority Leader Greg Curtis, R-Sandy, who voted against the resolution. "I don't want it to be said, 'Well, he must not be a conservative, he must not be a true Republican if he doesn't support this."'

Curtis argued that for all its faults, the United Nations was a forum for resolving international problems.

"We need to be at the table," he said. "I do not want to be viewed as anti-patriotic because I do not support this resolution. I do not want to be viewed as something less than a true Republican because I don't support this resolution."

Rep. Scott Daniels, D-Salt Lake City, said it drives his constituents crazy when the Utah Legislature gets bogged down in issues that have nothing to do with state government.

"A message I get from them a lot is, 'What are you doing up there? We have taxes to think about. We have important state issues. Why do I read that the Legislature is discussing the United Nations or the war in Iraq or whether Jell-O should be our state dessert? Why don't you stick to the issues that are really the state issues?"'

In urging support for his resolution, Bush, a Korean War veteran, cited a catalogue of complaints against the United Nations.

He blamed the U.N . for cutting the Korean war short when "we could have won," for hindering U.S. victory in Vietnam and for interfering in the Persian Gulf War, when "we weren't allowed to finish off Saddam Hussein and his army."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.