Liquor suit seeks to muzzle LDS Church

If the Utah Hospitality Association has its way, the LDS Church won't be able to talk to state legislators about liquor laws in the future. The UHA, a trade group for bars and restaurants, asked the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City last week to enforce the request as part of its ongoing efforts to overturn parts of Senate Bill 314, which bans daily drink specials and ties the number of liquor licenses to population totals and to the number of state-employed police officers.

Frederick Gedicks, who teaches constitutional law at BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School, doesn't think a ban on the church will happen, "You can't single out a religion and say, 'Everyone else gets to lobby the legislature but you.'"

Although the LDS Church issued no statement on the UHA's lawsuit, it has spoken about the issues in the past. In 2008, for example, the church acknowledged that alcoholic beverages are available to the public, but issued a statement that the church "has always called for reasonable regulations to (1) limit consumption, (2) reduce impaired driving, and (3) work to eliminate underage drinking."

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