By Paul Carter
LDS Church to Comment on Utah Liquor Laws
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- This past week, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints issued a statement that the Church will offer its comments
and concerns to Utah lawmakers who are working to rewrite the state's laws
on the advertising and sale of liquor.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission of the State of Utah has requested
public comment during the next four months. In an emergency meeting last
Thursday, the Commission issued emergency rules that are valid for 120 days.
New rules governing the advertising and sale of alcoholic beverages will
then be issued.
The emergency session of the Commission and the resulting emergency rules
were precipitated by a US 10th Circuit Court ruling July 24th. After that
ruling, Utah U.S. District Justice David Sam issued a temporary stay against
part of Utah's alcoholic beverage advertising restrictions, saying they are
The half-page statement from the Church can be viewed from a hyperlink on
the main web page of the http://www.lds.org/
website. The statement begins with the declaration that, "The current Utah
law on the advertising and sale of alcoholic beverages is the product of
long-standing efforts of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and many others." The Church states that it will "submit its
comments" during the period of public input.
The statement by the Church refers to the federal court ruling of July 24th,
wherein the Appeals Court stated that the Utah state ban on liquor
advertising violated the free speech provisions of the First Amendment, but
did note that Utah has the right to regulate alcoholic beverages. The
statement from the church suggests that, "In reviewing the emergency rules,
all should be guided by the court's finding that the State of Utah has a
'substantial state interest' in promoting 'temperance,'...to include
discouraging over-consumption, intoxication, and under-age consumption, as
well as minimizing the consequences of alcohol consumption to the safety,
health, and welfare of the public."
Utah currently has what are considered the most restrictive laws in the
United States with regard the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages.
Billboard ads are banned. Newspaper and magazine ads produced in Utah cannot
show images of people drinking.
The Utah State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission is comprised of 5
Commissioners. Four are non-drinking, active members of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The fifth is someone referred to in articles as
a "social drinker." They will issue new rules on the sale and advertising of
alcohol by December 7th.
LDS Church to Weigh In On Liquor-Ad Law Change
Salt Lake Tribune 11Aug01 T1
By Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune
LDS Church to review alcohol-ad rules
Deseret News 11Aug01 T1
Alcohol Statement Following Court Ruling
LDS Church Press Release 10Aug01 T1
Liquor Advertising in Utah 'Self-Censoring' Despite Court Ruling