First Unitarian Church Files Main Street Lawsuit

KSL TV, Aug. 3, 2003
http://tv.ksl.com/

The debate over the Main Street Plaza is brewing once again.

The American Civil Liberties Union is gathering support from plaintiffs of the first lawsuit against Salt Lake City… to file another complaint in the Federal District Court.

Today the group held a closed door meeting with the First Unitarian Church… one of the original lawsuits supporters.

News Specialist Kimberly Houk has more.

The ACLU’s relationship with the First Unitarian Church dates back to the 1950s.. the McCarthy era… when they both fought for civil rights.

Today… the ACLU reminded the congregation of their history…and then asked again for their support in a lawsuit against Salt Lake City for selling a portion of Main Street to the LDS church.

Penny Breimanb Member: “BREIMAN: THE LAWSUIT IS AGAINST SLC. THIS IS IN NO MEANS AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED IN ANYWAY, SHAPE, OR FORM AS A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE LDS CHURCH.”

The ACLU and Unitarians want to reverse the recent sale of the Main Street Plaza…and again make it available to the public.

Dani Eyer ACLU Attorney: WE THINK THAT WHEN THE CITY COUNCIL VOTED TO VACATE THEIR EASEMENT, THEY DID NOT HAVE PROPER SECULAR REASON FOR DOING THAT, AND WE THINK THE COURTS WILL AGREE WITH US.”

Today, the Unitarian Church agreed with them.

In an 81 to 23 vote… the members decided to be one of many plaintiffs in a future complaint filed against the city.

Cindy King Unitarian: I VOTED FOR HAVING THE CHURCH CONTINUE ON B/C I BELIEVE IT’S IMPORTANT THAT WE SUPPORT OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES AND OUR CIVIL RIGHTS.”

Paul Rice Unitarian: I BELIEVE THAT IF OUR CHURCH DOESN’T UPHOLD THE VIEWS OF THE LITTLE GUY WHO WANTS TO SPEAK THEIR OPINION ON THE PUBLIC EASEMENT, THEN NO ONE WOULD.”

First Unitarian Church’s Mission Statement:

We pledge to uphold our traditions of free thought, inclusive membership, and the democratic process. And we promote free and open religious community in Utah.

Unitarians says their decision to support a possible second lawsuit… came from the church’s mission statement.

Which says they pledge to uphold free thought… and will promote a free and open religious community in Utah.

Dani Eyer ACLU Attorney: WE FEEL LIKE WE HAVE A STRONG CASE. WE THINK THE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES ARE STRONG AND IMPORTANT.”

The ACLU still has to get a vote in favor of moving forward with this lawsuit from their local board… before they will file a complaint in the Federal District Court.

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