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Articles, Resources, and Position Papers

Following is a partial list of ACLU of Utah articles, resources and position papers. Additional materials can be found on our issue pages.

Students! Know Your Rights: A Guide For Utah High School Students

SKYRlrgIn school, young people not only learn about their constitutional rights, but they also see firsthand how those rights may be affected by the actions of others. The ACLU of Utah is dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of students and to helping students understand their rights in school.

The material provided on this website is for basic informational purposes only. It is not meant to be and should not be taken as legal advice, nor should you rely on this information instead of seeking the advice of an attorney. The legal issues surrounding civil rights and civil liberties are among the most complex in the law, and a person’s rights may vary from case to case depending on small and subtle details. Only a lawyer who has taken the time to become fully aware of the facts in a given case can provide you with sound legal advice.

If you feel your rights have been violated, please let us know the details by filling out a complaint form on our website.

National ACLU links for youth & students

A Guide For Utah High School Students

Other Utah Material

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About the ACLU of Utah

15 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 About the ACLU of Utah Founded in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union is a nationwide, nonpartisan organization dedicated to working in the courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by both the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The ACLU of Utah was chartered in 1953 to work on constitutional issues that are pertinent to those living in this state. Our priorities include freedom of speech, expression, and association; freedom of religion, including the separation of church and state; the right to privacy; safe prison and jail conditions; and equal protection and due process of the laws. StaffDani Eyer, Executive DirectorCarol Gnade, Development CoordinatorReinard Knutsen, Office Manager/Intake CoordinatorStephanie Peterson, Project Coordinator/Field OrganizerMargaret Plane, Staff Attorney Cori Sutherland, Communications Director Interns and VolunteersPhilip Austin, Penny Breiman, Nate Burke, Monica Maio, Joan O’Brien & Jud Soderborg Board of DirectorsSue Marquardt, PresidentKaren Denton, Vice PresidentLaurie Wood, SecretaryRobert Wood, TreasurerLincoln Hobbs, Legal Panel DirectorJill Sheinberg, National Board Representative Peggy BattinTim ChamblessChristine ContestableRoberto CulasBeverly DalleyEmma GrossMarc HoenigLee MartinezAndy McCulloughTarek NosseirJennifer SchwartzDavid Tundermann Legal PanelErika BirchDianna CannonStephen ClarkRussell HathawayLinda JonesLaura KesslerDerek LangtonCathy RobertsTrystan SmithKaren…

ACLU of Utah Membership Business

15 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 ACLU of Utah Membership Business The ACLU of Utah is made up of two entities with separate funds, accounting, and bylaws. The first entity is the ACLU of Utah Union, an IRS 501(c)(4) organization that can participate in lobbying and other activities. The Union is comprised of its “card-carrying” members, who carry out certain organizational business like approving the basic bylaws, overseeing financial expenditures, and voting on nominations to the ACLU of Utah Union Board of Directors. The second entity is the ACLU of Utah Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3) organization that engages in litigation, public education, and very limited lobbying activities. At the ACLU of Utah, the executive officers of the ACLU of Utah Union Board of Directors serve as the governing board of the ACLU of Utah Foundation. This year, we have two items of business for the ACLU of Utah Union membership: 1. Approval of BylawsThe Executive Committee of the ACLU of Utah Union Board of Directors has recommended a revision of the ACLU of Utah Union bylaws. These revisions incorporate past bylaws and more accurately reflect actual practice. We are asking for a membership vote and approval of the Revised Bylaws…

From Our National Office

06 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 Patriot Act ReformAs both houses of Congress prepare to vote on Patriot Act renewal and reform, thousands of emails from the ACLU Action Network have helped convince 163 Republican and Democratic lawmakers to sign the “Dear Conferee” letter. The letter urges Members of Congress negotiating the final Patriot Act bill to support the Senate reforms to some of the secretive powers in the Patriot Act, and to reject the reauthorization package passed by the House of Representatives. Just last week, a bipartisan group of powerful business leaders sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, urging Congress to support reforms in the Senate reauthorization bill. This is an important victory because these leaders represent businesses that have a great deal of influence in Washington. The Patriot Act battle continues in our courts as well. Last month, a Connecticut judge told the government to give an ACLU client his First Amendment right to speak out in the Patriot Act debate about his experience with these powers, but while the case is on appeal the client remains gagged under the National Security Letter provisions expanded by the Patriot Act. Thousands of…

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

06 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 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 for 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 that their own rules don’t allow them…

ACLU of Utah Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Transgender Employee

06 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 On October 5, the ACLU of Utah 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 rest room 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. Unfortunately, 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 legally changed her name from Michael to Krystal and…

ACLU of Utah Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Transgender Employee

06 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 On October 5, the ACLU of Utah 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 rest room 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. Unfortunately, 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 legally changed her name from Michael to Krystal and…

Divine Design

06 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 This spring, State Senator Chris Buttars gave Utahns a heads-up on one legislative issue we may soon be facing when he stated that he wants Utah public schools to teach “divine design” alongside the scientific theory of evolution. His efforts to bring divine design (aka intelligent design) to Utah schools received a significant and unexpected boost when President George Bush stated in August that he also believes teachers should explain intelligent design when discussing evolution. Ever since the famous 1925 Scopes “monkey trial,” in which the ACLU defended a Tennessee teacher convicted of teaching evolution, opponents to the scientific theory of evolution have attempted to forbid, limit, or otherwise undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools. Challenges have included laws or policies to prohibit the teaching of evolution, to require teachers to make statements or disclaimers questioning the validity of the scientific theory of evolution, and to require teachers to present anti-evolutionary views, including religious views not based on scientific evidence such as creationism, and more recently, intelligent or divine design. Intelligent design is a belief that the origin and development of living organisms cannot adequately be explained by the scientific theory of…

ACLU Forum: Domestic Partnership Benefits for City Employees

06 October 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
 ACLU of Utah Reporter: Fall 2005 On September 21, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson made Utah history when he signed an executive order extending health benefits to city employees’ gay and unmarried partners. ACLU of Utah attorney Margaret Plane answers questions about the order and opponents’ claims that Utah’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage also prohibits state and local governments from providing these types of benefits. Where do partnership benefits for Salt Lake City employees stand? Although the executive order’s effective date was September 21, it may take a court order before employees can enroll their unmarried partners in the insurance benefits plan. That’s because less than one week after the order was signed, the agency that administers health insurance for state and local government employees in Utah filed a petition with the state court requesting clarification about whether Utah law prohibits Salt Lake City from offering health insurance benefits to domestic partners. The Public Employees Health Program (PEHP) is awaiting an answer from the court before amending Salt Lake City’s health insurance contracts. What are domestic partners?Under Mayor Anderson’s order, a qualified domestic partner is someone who has a long term, committed relationship with a Salt Lake City employee,…

Free Speech and Commerce Clause

08 June 2005 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
Florence v. Shurtleff - During their 2005 general session, Utah legislators passed H.B. 260, “Amendments Related to Pornographic and Harmful Materials.” Meant to restrict children’s access to harmful material on the Internet, the law instead unconstitutionally limits the free speech rights of Internet content providers, may negatively impact Internet users who have no wish to restrict the sites to which they have access, acts as a prior restraint on Internet service providers’ speech, and violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Under the new law, the Attorney General’s Office must create an “adult content registry” containing the URLs of all Internet sites worldwide that are not “access restricted” and that contain “material harmful to minors”—speech that is unlawful to intentionally distribute to children yet is lawful for adults to access. Once contacted by the Attorney General’s Office, Utah-based content providers will either have to restrict access to their sites through an as-yet-to-be-defined rating system or remove the offending content to avoid being charged with a third-degree felony crime. Additionally, the bill requires Internet service providers, at customer request, to block access to sites listed on the adult content registry as well as to those sites they can identify as…

Prayer Before City Council Meetings and Legislative Sessions

10 November 2000 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
This resource was published in November 2000.  Due to a pivotal United States Supreme Court case in 1983, the constitutionality of legislative prayers, at least for the federal Constitution, has been firmly established. In Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), the Court held that a state legislature’s practice of opening each legislative day with a prayer performed by a state-selected and paid chaplain did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Rather than examining the case under the usual Establishment Clause framework, the Court looked to the history of the use of prayer before legislative sessions, in both the state and federal systems, and relied on this history when finding these prayers to be constitutional. (1) “This unique history leads us to accept the interpretation of the First Amendment draftsmen who saw no real threat to the Establishment Clause arising from the practice of prayer similar to that now challenged.” Id. at 791. The Court was not troubled by the fact that a Presbyterian chaplain had been selected for the past 16 years. “Absent proof that the chaplain’s reappointment stemmed from an impermissible motive, we conclude that his long tenure does not in itself conflict with the…

PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

03 November 2000 Published in Articles, Resources, and Position Papers
First Unitarian Church v. Salt Lake City Corporation STEPHEN C. CLARK (4551)American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Foundation, Inc. 355 North 300 West, Suite 1 Salt Lake City, Utah 84103 (801) 521-9862 MARK LOPEZ American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc. 125 Broad Street New York, New York 10004 Attorneys for Plaintiffs IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT Civil No. 2:99CV-0921ST Judge Ted StewartMagistrate Judge Samuel Alba FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH OF SALT LAKE CITY; UTAHNS FOR FAIRNESS; UTAH NATIONAL RGANIZATION FOR WOMEN; and CRAIG S. AXFORD, Plaintiffs, vs. SALT LAKE CITY CORPORATION, a municipal corporation, Defendant, CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, Intervenor. Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and DUCivR 56-1, plaintiffs respectfully submit this Memorandum in support of their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Main Street and Other Poems By Joyce Kilmer Main Street (For S. M. L.) I like to look at the blossomy track of the moon upon the sea, But it isn”t half so fine a sight as Main Street used to be When it all…

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