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Follow the links below to view ACLU of Utah press releases.

ACLU of Utah Announces New Executive Director

13 November 2006 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 13, 2006 SALT LAKE CITY -- The board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is pleased to announce that it has selected Karen McCreary, an attorney and dedicated community volunteer, to be the new executive director of the organization.  ACLU of Utah President Sue Marquardt, who served as chair of the search committee, noted that McCreary’s extensive legal and community service experience make her an ideal fit for the ACLU of Utah. “Karen’s intellect, accomplishments, enthusiasm, wide range of experience, and sense of humor are just several of the reasons for the board’s unanimous decision to choose her to direct the Utah ACLU affiliate,” said Marquardt.  McCreary’s professional legal experience includes over a dozen years as associate and senior associate general counsel for the University of Utah. She has also worked as general counsel for the Western Governors University, has been an associate attorney at a private law firm, and a judicial law clerk for Federal Court Judge David Winder.  In addition to her legal career, McCreary has been involved in a variety of service activities, including international relief work in Africa and India, migrant worker education and advocacy in Alabama, and…

Utah Court Rules Anti-Gay Amendment Doesn’t Bar Salt Lake City from Offering Domestic Partner Benefits

16 May 2006 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 16, 2006  SALT LAKE CITY –  A Utah court has ruled that its anti-gay relationship amendment, one of the most sweeping of its kind to pass in the 2004 elections, does not bar Salt Lake City from offering health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a lesbian employee of the Salt Lake City Police Department and the local branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), cheered the decision as an important victory for lesbian and gay couples in states with similar anti-gay relationship amendments. “The court understood correctly that laws banning gay people from marriage do not in any way bar employers from choosing to provide domestic partner benefits,” said Margaret Plane of the ACLU of Utah. “The court recognized that employers have important reasons for wanting to provide health insurance for the families of all their employees, and it’s within their rights to do so.” On September 21, 2005, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson signed an executive order extending health and other employment benefits to city employees’ same-sex and heterosexual domestic partners. The…

ACLU of Utah Files Federal Lawsuit Over Use Of Tear Gas In Utah State Prison's Mental Health Wing

13 April 2006 Published in Newsroom
Download a PDF of this release >>Download the complete complaint (PDF) >> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 4, 2013 SALT LAKE CITY—Late yesterday, the ACLU of Utah filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a group of prisoners at the Utah State Prison. The case involves an incident in August 2011 in which corrections officers released a tear gas canister in the Olympus wing of the Utah State Prison to subdue a single prisoner. The tear gas entered the air ventilation system and seeped into cells that have no windows or bars, affecting about 150 inmates. The inmates were left to breathe the noxious gas for about 20 minutes, and many feared for their lives. The Olympus wing is the mental health wing of the prison; it also houses prisoners with severe medical conditions. The prisoners allege that corrections officers failed to answer emergency call buttons during the incident. They further allege that some officers made light of their situation during and after the incident, with some laughing about it and others discouraging complaints. The prisoners also contend that officials failed to provide them adequate physical and mental health attention after the incident. Prison officials have acknowledged that the incident…

ACLU of Utah files friend-of-the-court brief in support of domestic partner benefits for Salt Lake City employees

15 November 2005 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 10, 2005 PDF version >>   Dianna Goodliffe (right) with her partner Lisa and their daughter SALT LAKE CITY -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed a friend-of-the-court brief today in support of a Salt Lake City executive order that extends health and other employment benefits to city employees’ same-sex and unmarried heterosexual domestic partners. For Salt Lake City Police Department employee Dianna Goodliffe, the city’s executive order is welcome news. For almost six years, she has been in a committed and loving relationship with her partner Lisa, with whom she has a four-year-old daughter. “I’m so pleased that Salt Lake City recognizes that there’s really no difference between my family and the families of my married coworkers,” said Goodliffe. “Right now, my partner has benefits through her employer, but we all know how quickly that can change. Now we have the same options and opportunities as others.” One year ago, Goodliffe and her partner’s daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, making health insurance a particularly important consideration. Like all parents, Goodliffe and her partner want to do what’s best for their family, which, in the future, may include Lisa working part-time or staying at…

ACLU Delivers Patriot Act Reform Petition to Congressman Bishop

06 October 2005 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 6, 2005  PDF version >>  SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Congressman Robert Bishop received a petition from constituents today urging him to protect the modest reforms in the Senate version of Patriot Act reauthorization legislation. The petition, gathered in a joint effort between the ACLU and Working Asset's Act for Change program, is seeking his support to change some of the most controversial and secretive powers expanded by the Patriot Act, which may be voted on as early as next week. "By signing this petition, Utah residents are standing up for their civil liberties, while urging Congressman Bishop to do the same," said Dani Eyer, Executive Director of the ACLU of Utah. "The Senate version is a step in the right direction, helping to bring some parts of the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution by restoring checks and balances on government power." The Senate version revises several of the Patriot Act’s most controversial provisions. For example, the Senate bill puts a four-year sunset on the government’s ability to secretly demand library, medical, financial, or gun ownership records. The Senate bill also ensures that the government must demonstrate, to a judge, some facts warranting the…

ACLU of Utah files amicus brief on behalf of transgender employee

05 October 2005 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 5, 2005 PDF version >> SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH--The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah announced today that it has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in an important case regarding the rights of transgender employees.  The brief is on behalf of Krystal Etsitty, a former Utah Transit Authority employee, who was fired shortly after she revealed to her employers that she is a transsexual. Although UTA had received no complaints about Etsitty, her employers informed her that she was being terminated because they could not determine which restroom she should use.  Etsitty, represented by the law firm of Strindberg Scholnick & Chamness, argued in federal court that she was protected by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including nonconformity to sex stereotypes. In June 2005, the district court granted summary judgment to UTA, holding that transsexuals are not protected by Title VII, and that even if Title VII did apply, UTA’s decision was not based on Etsitty’s lack of conformity to sex stereotypes. Etsitty has now asked the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the district court’s decision. Etsitty, who identifies and lives as a woman, has…

Utah State Tax Commission Approves Personalized License Plates with Gay-Positive Messages

27 May 2005 Published in Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 27, 2005 PDF version >> SALT LAKE CITY--In a win for free speech, the Utah State Tax Commission has ruled that it will approve three personalized license plates with gay-positive messages. The ruling is a first for the commission, which, until this decision, had never approved a personalized plate containing the word “gay.”  In December, Elizabeth Solomon applied for three personalized license plates: “GAY WE GO,” “GAYS R OK,” and “GAY RYTS.” After the Tax Commission approved the “GAY WE GO” plate but denied the application of the latter two plates, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah represented Solomon in appealing the decision. “I have kids who are gay and I wanted these plates so that I could publicly express support for my children,” said Solomon, explaining why she applied for the personalized plates. “I’m delighted that I will now be able to do so.” Margaret Plane, ACLU of Utah staff attorney, was also pleased by the Tax Commission’s decision. “Too often, public officials are scared by the word ‘gay’ and they refuse to recognize that gays and lesbians are an increasingly public and positive part of our communities,” said Plane. “The commission rightly recognized…

ACLU of Utah Asks the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to Review the Constitutionality of the Main Street Plaza Restrictions

04 June 2001 Published in Newsroom
SALT LAKE CITY--In a case raising important questions about the future of free speech in public places, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah today asked the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the constitutionality of the restrictions Salt Lake City agreed to when it sold a central downtown block of Main Street to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.