The ACLU of Utah Activist
We are grateful to all of those who expressed their desire to be plaintiffs in the recently filed lawsuit to ensure that Utah honors marriage. We are deeply committed to ensuring equality for all married same sex couples in Utah, and this case moves that goal forward by seeking to require the State to again honor the marriages of those who relied on licenses that Utah issued. After considerable analysis, we chose not to bring a formal class action so we could move the case forward as quickly as possible. Please know, however, that the result we seek in this case is for Utah to recognize and honor the marriages of all same sex couples with Utah licenses, whether or not they are named plaintiffs. And know that this court case is only one of the ways that we are working to bring marriage equality to everyone throughout Utah and the nation. We would like everyone who contacted us to know that the information and input you provided was invaluable and helped shape the case. There will be many ways in the months ahead that we can all work together to broaden the understanding and education about same sex marriage…
By Jamil Dakwar, Director, national ACLU Human Rights Program - Today's celebrations of international Human Rights Day coincide with the commemoration of the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela – the freedom fighter, political prisoner, African National Congress leader, and first president of post-apartheid South Africa. More than 90 world leaders, including Barack Obama attended Mandela's memorial service today, where the president gave a passionate eulogy, telling tens of thousands that Mandela "speaks to what's best inside us." Read more >>
This morning, the national ACLU released Alone and Afraid: Children Held in Solitary Confinement and Isolation in Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities.
This national ACLU log post examines continued censorship of books in the U.S. and mentions the recent ACLU of Utah case, Weber v. Davis School District.
The ACLU of Utah has a strong commitment to fighting for racial justice and has pursued several important cases in the past year to challenge racial inequity in our community. One case that the ACLU of Utah staff has been hard at work on is Winston vs. Salt Lake Police Department for which we filed a class-action lawsuit against school and police officials over a ‘gang sweep’ in which students of color were detained, interrogated and falsely accused of participating in gang activity. The ACLU of Utah views this case as one important challenge to the larger disturbing trend of schools using discipline policies that push children out of school and into the criminal justice system. This trend is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Increasingly, police have a greater presence in schools and as a result young people are being criminalized for offenses like minor classroom misbehavior. The greater police presence is not making our schools safer when children are encountering the criminal justice system for non-violent offenses. In the Winston case, between 14 and 40 West High School students of color were detained, interrogated, searched and forced to be photographed holding signs identifying them as gang members. Their personal information…
Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology you’ve probably never heard of. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, recording their plate numbers, times, and locations. At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons (to act on arrest warrants, find stolen cars, etc.). But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.
While we celebrate the Court’s decision to strike down the federal recognition section of DOMA, individual states still have anti-gay, anti-marriage laws. In fact these discriminatory barriers are now embedded in 30 state constitutions. Find out about the new national ACLU campaign to fight for full marriage equality across the country. Read more >>
With the legislative session winding down, things are picking up on the Capitol Hill. This change of pace was tangible last week, as bills started to move through the process much more quickly. This week we look at: SB 196, License Plate Reader Amendments; H.B. 44, Election Polling; S.B. 225, Immigration Trigger Dates
On December 16, 2010, West High School officials in Salt Lake City, Utah invited the Metro Gang Task Force into the school to conduct a gang sweep. Students identified, searched and interrogated by the police were mostly Latino/a or, in the case of Kaleb Winston, African-American. He was targeted by his school and by the Task Force as a potential gang member, searched and accused of being a tagger. As an artist, Kaleb had a notebook full of drawings in a backpack manufactured to look like it had been spray-painted. But because graffiti is loosely defined, if at all, the police decided Kaleb was a “gang tagger” despite his denials. Kaleb was then forced to hold up a sign with the words “My name is Kaleb Winston and I am a gang tagger.” Law enforcement officers told him that this information was being placed into a database and that the information would be removed if he did not get into trouble for two years. Kaleb was emotionally devastated by the experience. He is not and has never been in a gang. Yet, his attendance at school that day, not bad behavior, made him the subject of intense police scrutiny and…
November 13, 2012 - The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit against the Davis School District after elementary schools in the district were instructed to remove a children's book about a family with same-sex parents from library shelves.
Adolescence. We've all been there, and we would bet that most everyone remembers how awkward it can be. Hormones transform bodies. And suddenly there are a lot of questions about sex. Telling teens "just don't do it," and gagging our teachers so they can't even answer questions, will not stop young people from seeking out the answers on their own. Unfortunately, the information they cobble together is often uninformed, ill-advised, or downright wrong. Our Legislature just passed a bill that says that's the best we can do for our young people. But they're wrong.
Published in the Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 2012 >> Adolescence. We've all been there, and we would bet that most everyone remembers how awkward it can be. Hormones transform bodies. And suddenly there are a lot of questions about sex. Telling teens "just don't do it," and gagging our teachers so they can't even answer questions, will not stop young people from seeking out the answers on their own. Unfortunately, the information they cobble together is often uninformed, ill-advised, or downright wrong. Our Legislature just passed a bill that says that's the best we can do for our young people. But they're wrong. Our students are best served by programs that educate and inform, not ones that dangerously limit information and mislead. They deserve education that provides them with balanced and accurate information, and supports them so they can make healthy and responsible decisions in life. The truth is that we can't be with our children all the time, but we can make sure that our schools give our students the tools they need to make informed and healthy decisions as they grow into adults. If you think that sounds like a good idea, you're not alone. The overwhelming…