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Race, Religion & Social Justice

LDS Church Says No Change Needed in Utah Liquor Laws

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s liquor laws are just fine the way they are.  But that may not stop further attempts to change them during the upcoming legislative session. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a statement on its news website yesterday saying Utah’s liquor laws are an important concern.  Elder Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostle appears in a video saying Utah’s restrictions on alcohol are associated with lower rates of underage drinking and drunk driving.  And he says that’s why there’s no need to change them to be like other states.

“If we begin to go in the direction they have," Christofferson says in the video, "it’s unreasonable to expect that we’re not going to suffer or experience the same outcomes.  How could we suppose that changing our system to reflect that of others is not going to yield the same results?”

Among other things, Christofferson says requiring restaurants to mix drinks out of the sight of customers – what others have called the ‘Zion Curtain’ – is reasonable and helps to distinguish between bars and restaurants.

Democratic State Representative Brian King says it’s a mistake to think the restrictions are responsible for Utah’s lower rate of social problems related to alcohol.  And he says Utah’s reputation for strange liquor laws is a problem for economic development.

“I don’t think that we should be driven to enact lawmaking that is based on public perception alone," King tells KUER.  "I agree with that. But I also don’t think we should take pride in weird laws that accomplish nothing.”

A bill to eliminate the ‘Zion Curtain’ passed the Utah House of Representatives last year, but it died in the state Senate.  Its sponsor, Republican Representative Ryan Wilcox, told the Ogden Standard-Examiner that he plans to try again this year.

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