Lauren Gray, Communications Director, NCLR
lgray@nclrights.org / (215) 983-3099

After NCLR victory for LGBTQ youth in Utah State Board of Education case, Salt Lake City Mayor gives NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell a Key to the City at Coming Out Day Celebration  

Last year, NCLR sued the Utah State Board of Education for censoring content about LGBTQ people. Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski gives NCLR Executive and Native Utahn Kate Kendell a Key to the City.

(SALT LAKE  CITY, October 11, 2017)—Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski honored National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Executive Director and native Utahn Kate Kendell with a Key to the City today on National Coming Out Day. Key to the City recipients are hand-picked by the Mayor, recognizing those individuals who have used their voices, talents, or resources to improve the community. At the same ceremony, LGBTQ philanthropist and Wordperfect co-founder Bruce Bastian received a Key to the City as well. Today is only the third time Mayor Biskupski has offered this award.

“Receiving this Key to the City on National Coming Out Day is fitting because coming out helps unlock who we are and transform hearts and minds,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell. “After decades of work, I am still committed to making things better for LGBTQ Utahns and our LGBTQ family members across the country. Thank you to Mayor Jackie Biskupski and to Salt Lake City for standing with us.”

“Kate has been a driving force behind the strategy which has transformed the legal landscape for LGBTQ people across the country,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Though her work is national, Kate has never forgotten where she is from, using her considerable talent and knowledge to ensure LGBTQ Utahns are thoroughly protected.”

NCLR served as co-counsel in Kitchen v. Herbert the landmark Utah marriage equality case, and recently partnered with Equality Utah to overturn Utah’s LGBTQ censorship rule, the so-called “No Promo Homo” law, which was repealed by the Utah legislature in March in response to NCLR’s federal lawsuit.

Last week, NCLR eliminated the remnants of Utah’s LGBTQ censorship rule by reaching final settlement in Equality Utah v. Utah State Board of Education, the first federal lawsuit challenging state bans on supportive speech about LGBTQ people in public school classrooms and student clubs. Earlier this year, as a direct result of NCLR’s lawsuit representing Equality Utah and several individual students, the Utah legislature repealed these harmful and stigmatizing laws. This settlement addressed claims brought by NCLR on behalf of a gender nonconforming kindergarten plaintiff who experienced severe verbal and physical harassment resulting from the hostile climate created by these policies and eliminated all remaining state administrative rules reflecting these policies. The State Board of Education announced that under the new rules, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not permitted in Utah public schools.

Prior to Kendell’s more than 20-year tenure as executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national nonprofit LGBTQ legal organization based in San Francisco and Washington, DC, Kendell received her J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law and served as the first staff attorney for the ACLU of Utah.


The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org