The future of gay-straight alliances at several Washington County schools could be threatened in the next school year, especially if two challengers for seats on the school board win the election. The alliances were permitted in 2009 after receiving pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, but the school board has taken steps to make GSAs more difficult to form, such as requiring parental consent for all extracurricular activities. Two of the challengers for the board are saying they want to ban them outright, even at the risk of a lawsuit or the potential loss of federal funding. In an ironic twist, the existing GSAs have spent a lot of time this year helping members learn how to deal with school bullies. Now, it may be time to include bullying from those in power.
The Orem City Council has agreed to push forward with a new Center for Story and Art. The city will provide more than half of the funding, primarily through tax revenues, amounting to a total of $2.4 million. The rest of the $4.3 million price tag will come from private donations and grants. The center will be attached to the Orem Public Library and will host cultural events, community forums and also provide a year-round home and performance venue for the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute. Now that’s a happy ending.
A radio ad playing in the run-up to the election urged people to vote against all of the amendments to the Utah Constitution because the “divinely inspired” document should not be changed. That argument, however, is flawed on many levels. For one, the state constitution was essentially copied from the U.S. Constitution when Utah was seeking statehood. Also, it has been amended many times, most notably in recent years to prohibit gay marriage—an amendment that supporters argued was to preserve marriage as God intended. Even if the argument of divine inspiration is extended to the U.S. Constitution, it is still flawed. One of the greatest things the Founding Fathers did was make the Constitution a living document that should be amended. For starters, without amendments, there would be no Bill of Rights. Also, for the female narrator of the ad: Without amendments to the Constitution, there would be no votes for women.