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Funding Yanked on "Queers Kick Ash" Campaign
(News for 6/6/04 — Updated on 7/20/04)

Correction (posted on 7/20/04): The "understatement of the week" below was mistakenly attributed to Jana Kettering, spokesman for the Utah Department of Health.  It was actually made by Jennifer Nuttall, director of adult programs for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah. UDOH brought this error to our attention and appears to be part of our diverse, growing community of interested readers.

Update for 7/12/04: It is now official. Under pressure, the Utah Department of Health has cut "anti-tobacco" funding to the "Queers Kick Ash" campaign.  Tami Marquardt, acting executive director for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah, stated:

"This is nothing but a homophobic cover-up. It's discrimination, pure and simple."

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Richard Milton, UDOH's deputy director,

"...Conceded that the controversy caused by the center's 'provocative' messages has Health Department officials re-examining why they initially awarded the center the first of three potential $100,000-a-year grants. 'I can't get into that,' he said. 'I can just say there's a discussion going on about why it happened.'"

We bet.  UDOH is also the target of citizen complaints against its recent "emergency ruling" reinstituting taxpayer funding of abortion on demand.
Source: "'Queers Kick Ash' campaign loses state funding," Mike Cronin, Salt Lake Tribune, Jul. 12, 2004.


Summary: The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has magnanimously decided to pull its "anti-tobacco" funding in the form of "Queers Kick Ash" T-shirts.


UDOH granted the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah (Utah GLBT) a $100,000 one year renewable grant to purportedly sponsor an anti-smoking campaign with a homosexual "theme".

Part of the "theme" involved the dissemination of "Queers Kick Ash" T-shirts.  Four students were ultimately suspended for refusing to remove or change their T-shirts, and funding has since been withdrawn.

Jennifer Nuttall, director of adult programs for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah, wins the understatement of the week:

"This technically shouldn't even have been a competitive grant.  It shouldn't have been a problem."
Source: "'Queer' T-shirts fuel funding spat," Ashley Broughton, Salt Lake Tribune, Jun. 3, 2004.

There is no indication that Governor Olene Walker plans to take any disciplinary action against officials at UDOH.

Note: Accountability Utah is not particularly interested in the private sexual practices of consenting adults, be they normal or deviant. We become very interested, however, when groups (or sub-groups) attempt to use government to force their beliefs on others and to obtain special rights and dispensations that others do not have.

In this case, the special dispensation is taxpayer dollars to promote a particular sexual agenda. It is the sole right and responsibility of parents to teach their children about sexuality and parents should fulfill their responsibility privately—without using government force or settings. Discussing sexuality can be awkward and even difficult, and some parents may indeed fail to pass on ideal virtues and teachings to their children. But empowering the government to assume the role of parent is to invite extreme agendas from all sides to battle for the chance of forcing their beliefs on others. These types of educational battles are best left in the hands of private individuals or organizations.



Accountability Utah recipe: Take our information and opinion, research their information and opinion (if it is available), and then examine the law and draw your own conclusions.  If you have comments or suggestions, please email us at info@accountabilityutah.org.


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