Sutherland Newsletter – May 22, 2008

1.Mark Your Calendar for Legacy Awards on June 12

Join the Sutherland Institute on June 12 for the 2008 Legacy Awards Banquet as we honor Utah community leaders for their efforts to promote the principles of faith, family, freedom, personal responsibility, and private property.

The honorees:

  • Legacy Award: Richard and Mary Headlee for a lifetime of service in promoting faith, family, and freedom
  • Private Property Award: Utah Home Builders Association for encouraging home ownership and fighting to protect the rights of property owners
  • Personal Responsibility Award: United Way for the Utah Saves program promoting and encouraging personal responsibility

The event will take place in the Rice-Eccles Stadium and Towers.  Dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m.  Reserve your seats today by contacting Liv Moffat at 801.355.1272, or go to

You can see the invitation here.


2.National Review: Sutherland Director Writes on “Supreme Overreach”

Supporters of the natural family in California may be able to stop same-sex marriages from occurring in their state by voting to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.



In an opinion-editorial published in the National Review on May 16, 2008, William C. Duncan, director of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society, writes, “Thanks to the foresight of pro-marriage groups, the people of California will still get to have the last word on the proper interpretation of the state’s constitution when they vote on a marriage amendment in November.”


The amendment will be on the ballot during November’s general election and uses the same language as Proposition 22, a previous statewide referendum that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.


Family-rights groups are expected to ask the court to defer its ruling until the voters decide on the amendment.  If the court refuses, county recorders will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in June.


One of the dissenters on the court, who actually supports same-sex marriage, said the 4-3 decision overstepped its bounds.  “The principle of judicial restraint is a covenant between judges and the people from whom their power derives.  It protects the people against judicial overreaching.  It is no answer to say that judges can break the covenant so long as they are enlightened or well-meaning.”


Proposition 22 passed in the year 2000 with over 68 percent of the state’s voters supporting it. The amendment will need the support of a majority of voters in order to be adopted.


3.Sutherland Awarded with Best of State for Third Year in a Row

The Best of State organization named the Sutherland Institute as Utah’s top Education/Advocacy organization for its innovative program, the Transcend Series.  This is the third year in a row theSeries has won top honors in this category.

“We are grateful to be recognized again for our work with Transcend,” said Stan Rasmussen, Sutherland’s manager of public affairs and director of the Series.  “It is our hope that this kind of recognition will encourage more elected officials and community leaders to participate in the outstanding programs of the Institute.”


Sutherland created the Transcend Series to address the desire of civic leaders to become better informed, equipped and skilled to serve in their respective roles.  A distinctive feature of theSeries, frequently noted by participants, is the opportunity for genuine, candid, and civil dialogue.


More than 300 public officials and citizens across the social-political spectrum have benefited from their participation in this ground-breaking program.  The experience enables them to transcend politics as usual in the service of their communities and colleagues.  In November 2007, Sutherland took the Transcend Series on the road, to St. George, where local leaders participated in the first of such sessions to be conducted in different regions of the state.

Sutherland will be recognized at the Best of State Awards Gala, to be held Saturday, May 31, at 6:30 p.m. in the Salt Palace Grand Ballroom. to Be Launched in Spanish as Tool to Empower Parents

At a press conference on Tuesday, May 27, the Sutherland Institute will announce the launch of a Spanish version of, the largest independent clearinghouse of Utah school information.  The launch will be made in conjunction with the announcement of Sutherland’s new Center for Educational Progress, which will occur at 11:00 am in the Crane Building, 307 West 200 South, Suite 5005.

“A healthy system of education is most likely to develop when parents take full responsibility for their children’s learning progress,” said Paul T. Mero, president of the Sutherland Institute.  “For years, has been a valuable resource for parents to determine the best educational options for their child.  And now, this wonderful tool is available to Hispanic parents, to help them improve their children’s educational outcomes.”


According to a report released this month by the Utah State Office of Education, more than 40 percent of Hispanic students in Utah’s public education system are not graduating with a diploma.


“My children deserve just as much of a chance to succeed as any other child here in Utah,” said Sandra Plazas, a Hispanic mother of two.  “One of my children did just fine in the local public school, but my daughter needed more specialized attention.  Fortunately, I was able to do some research and my daughter was accepted into a charter school where her grades have improved substantially.  Now, gives other Hispanic parents, who may not know much English, the ability to determine the best fit for their child.”