Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Florida, United States
April 27
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.


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APRIL 28, 2010 8:21AM

Four Utah High Schools Approve Gay-Straight Alliance Groups

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Four high schools in southern Utah have approved Gay-Straight Alliance clubs to be launched at the beginning of the next school year, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Desert Hills, Dixie, Pine View and Snow Canyon high schools in sunny St. George, Utah, will all have chartered clubs beginning fall 2010.  The Washington County School district met with members of the ACLU in approving the groups after concerns that current school policies might not be in compliance with the First Amendment.

State education laws require students to agree they will not advocate extramarital sex or contraception, regardless of their group affiliation.  Darcy Goddard, legal director for ACLU of Utah, noted, "There's no more reason to think that LGBT kids and their allies are going to talk about contraception than to think that the football team will or the chess club."

The student groups encountered significant opposition on their way to eventual approval, with some administrators making it difficult for them to create the clubs.  

Two of the six high schools in the school district did not turn in charters for the clubs.  The other four which did were all approved.   A charter school in the district was first to approve a charter last year.

There are approximately 4000 chartered GSA clubs in high schools nationwide, which have as their mission primarily to provide education and support within the community.

Students at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, attracted national attention in 1998 when they sued the local school board for the right to have a Gay-Straight Alliance at that school. 

Washington County is located in the far southwest corner of the state of Utah, with a population of approximately 140,000, some of whom are seasonal residents who flock there for the warm desert climate.  It was recently named fifth nationwide in highest job-growth rate among counties in the United States.  It has also been named one of the hundred most conservative-friendly counties in the nation in a state generally regarded to be philosophically and politically conservative.



Two of the students who submitted petitions for their St. George high schools to charter a GSA club, Logan Hunt and Jason Osmanski, who attend Dixie and Snow Canyon high schools respectively, in a family photograph from last fall attending Homecoming for Snow Canyon.  (photo: Carolyn Osmanski for the Salt Lake Tribune)


On the Web:

Four St. George high schools allow gay clubs - The Salt Lake Tribune 

Gay-Straight Alliance Network  

Utah High School Gay-Straight Alliance Sues School Board Over Right to Exist - ACLU of Utah 

Buttars Wants to Prohibit Gay Clubs - Deseret News 


(top photo credit:  socialliberal.com) 

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And what a lovely photo that image paints

Simple: Love
Progress is too slow, but it is happening. My daughter was president of her HS's Gay-Straight Alliance. That's when I realized, hey, maybe we raised her right after all.
For a gang that's supposedly at the top of the food chain in some sort of man-made sense of superiority....we sure are inferior in recognizing human equality.....in the western creation myth, the last thing the Creator created was WOMAN.....and still womyn don't have equal rights, equal pay, equal say......and BTW, it's always been a matter of CIVIL RIGHTS, for womyn, gays, people of variant colors other than the pinkish-tan to sallow that westerners call "white"....
Great post.
See: when they whine States' Rights in the service of injustice, I am again grateful we have a federal systen and a Fourteenth Amendment that extends the BofR to the whining states.
Good for them! And I'll echo Jonathan in saying "long live states' rights!," at least in this case.
Remember that this can be a question of life or death in some cases... the idea is to make it possible that our kids never find themselves in that kind of a situation...
How great! I too, must say here here for states rights...in this case! xox
Hopefully, continued awareness will lead to continued actions towards a more loving life for all human beings.
Excellent news. I hope it goes well.
This is one issue that I feel will change for the better with a new generation. Racism, I don't think so.
There is hope! _r
Excellent news. Especially for Utah. The more chances that teens get to see that This Is Just As Normal As Straight Kids is fantastic. That gay people are everywhere--in your school, grocery shopping, in your workplace, in your church, at your local Petco... they're living their lives just like everyone else. This is a powerful message for everyone, but especially teens in conservative states.
Nice to see the aclu doing it's best to force people to be like them. Heaven forbid those "people" help out on something not liberal.

I'd like to know where the hell they were when clinton was discriminating against Servicemen and women, by picking out thousands of us for being different and kicking us out of the military illegally.

The aclu should go after itself for discrimination.
It's interesting -- though not exactly surprising -- that the only two negative comments so far have also been incoherent.

Try proving me wrong instead of a lame personal attack.
So because the ACLU's for it, it has to be bad? That doesn't make any sense.
Yay! There's hope, even for Utah.

The aclu practices discrimination. If you don't agree with them they will sue you. It has nothing to do with right of wrong or rights.

Just ask any Vet that got discriminated against by clinton.
This is happening all over the country in places you would never expect. Logan and Jason are our REAL leaders -- not the cocktail-swilling wusses of the HRC.
The point of this article isn't that the ACLU is perfect, only that it's done right in this particular case. Sometimes half a loaf is better than none. Or would you prefer that everyone go hungry until you get fed?

Thanks for not trying to prove me wrong. I guess this means you know the aclu is disfunctional and should be disbanded.
No, it means you should quit whining and start your own advocacy group. Doesn't take a genius, I promise.
Hooray for Utah! I just cannot understand why this is such a difficult issue. Live and let live.