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“The battle of Spanish Fork”

       Discrimination against homosexuals. Gay and lesbians have been denied and fired from jobs because of their sexual orientations. Weaver admits to a student that she is a lesbian. Wendy Weaver, a teacher who decided to fight a local school district that threatened her job and freedom of expression, because she was a lesbian. In Salem, Utah, on Saturday, May31, 1997, Wendy Weaver coach for 17 years of the Spanish Fork volleyball team was questioned by one of her players about her sexual orientation. One of the players asked Weaver if she was gay Weaver didn’t lie telling her player the truth “Yes, I am,” Weaver said. Weaver’s life before the controversy. She was married at 23, and her husband were nominated in 1995 couple for a “Family of the year” when they took in the first of 30 foster children before bearing a son and adopting a daughter of their own. The school district threatens Weaver. On July 21, Robert Wadley, school principal, gave a letter to Weaver announced that he would not permit Weaver to coach. He said that it was the best interest of the school and students. Weaver vs. School district. Carol Gnade, the executive director of Utah’s american Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told Weaver that she thought that the letter was the evidence she needed to win a lawsuit against the school for violation of her constitutional right of freedom of expression. Mormon religion played a strong role. Mormonism seems to impact all walks of life in Utah, including the School, where many school administrators play active roles as bishops in their local churches and many students receive religious instruction on or near school grounds. And on the question of sexuality, Mormon teaching is very clear: Same gender relations are against God’s law. The debate between Weaver’s supporters and her opposition. In late October, the ACLU organized a news conference in Salt Lake City, the State capital, and invited Weaver to appear. When it was time to return to the classroom a few days later, a few teachers gave her silent hugs of support as she walked through the hallways. Parents who knew Weaver well came to her defense, “What’s sexual orientation got to do with her ability to coach volleyball?” On the other hand, a group of about 100 parents and grandparents had started a petition protesting the School’s employment of Weaver, any openly gay or lesbian teacher, or any other individual whose perceived morality they deemed to be objectionable. The group had even hired a lawyer to represnet them. Matthew Hilton, delivered the petition against her to the board, reporting that it had been signed by 2,678 residents. Weaver’s victory. On November 5, 1998, Weaver won the right to live free of discrimination. Gay people now to some extent have the freedom to live their private life as they choose.

Wendy Weaver  

Wendy Weaver (right)