We Should Be Diligent, Not Angry: Reflection on a Decade of Battling Church-State Issues in Utah

Carol Gnade’s remarkable journey from Wisconsin to the center of many of Utah’s recent civil liberties battles began when, on a Utah skiing vacation, she chanced to hear a news report about how the Utah state legislature had just outlawed abortions for any reason. Surprised, she called the local ACLU office to ask if they could use a volunteer and, before long, became the chapter’s director of development and then executive director. This past April, she announced her retirement, effective at the end of 2002. Among other cases, Gnade has guided ACLU campaigns regarding the sale of a block of Salt Lake City’s Main Street to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; equal access for the Gay/Straight Alliance, a student club at a Salt Lake City high school; the case of Wendy Weaver, an educator who was told she couldn’t speak truthfully about who she is when it was learned (in a conversation outside of the classroom) that she is a lesbian; and she has also worked behind the scenes with four Utah executions. We know you will enjoy meeting Carol and hearing her reflect on her extraordinary experiences trying to safeguard individual freedoms in this most interesting and church-dominated state.

Carol Gnade, Linda Sillitoe