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Ban on Gay and Lesbian Student Clubs Expected to Become Law In Utah

A ban on gay and lesbian student clubs in Utah high schools was passed Thursday (4-19) by the Utah state House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt. Legislators in the predominantly Mormon state claim that members of the club “recruit” others into a homosexual lifestyle which the Mormon Church considers immoral. Supporters of the bill, which requires schools to deny access to clubs encouraging criminal or delinquent conduct, promoting bigotry or involving human sexuality, feel certain that it does not violate a 1984 federal law which prohibits discrimination against clubs because of the beliefs they espouse. Last month, the Salt Lake City school board voted to ban all extracurricular clubs in order to keep the Gay-Straight Alliance from meeting. Hundreds of students marched on the state capitol to protest the board’s decision. According to Jensie Anderson of the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the bill is the only one of its kind in the nation to win passage. The ACLU said legal challenge can be expected.

Sources:

USA Today - April 18, 1996