ACLU joins debate about FLDS kids' custody
Monday April 21,2008
Salt Lake City Tribune.

Also, a Utah man gets 1,000 signatures from people opposing the children's removal

By Brooke Adams

SAN ANGELO, Texas - The ACLU of Texas has joined the debate over the removal of 416 children from a polygamous sect's ranch more than two weeks ago.
    And a Utah man has gathered 1,000 signatures on an online petition site from people who oppose the blanket removal of the children from the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado. That petition is on its way to Texas, said Connor Boyack, a political blogger. The petition is online at
    In a statement released Friday, the ACLU said the situation has raised "serious and difficult issues regarding the sometimes competing rights of children and their parents."
    Judge Barbara Walthers ruled Friday that the state had proved all the children were in imminent danger of being abused or neglected by their parents, who are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
    The ACLU issued the statement after listening to some testimony but before the judge issued an order continuing state custody of the children.
    "While we acknowledge that Judge Walthers' task may be unprecedented in Texas judicial history,
we question whether the current proceedings adequately protect the fundamental rights of the mothers and children of the FLDS," Terri Burke, the ACLU's executive director, said in the statement.


Connor Boyack, of Lehi, said his petition drive - which also cites constitutional rights - asks that the children be released and officials apologize for the "acts of aggression" against the FLDS.
    He posted the petition April 15 and five days later reached his goal of 1,000 names. About 75 percent of those signing identified themselves by name.
    Boyack is sending the petition to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Commissioner Cockerell of the Department of Family Services, among others.
    "I don't expect too much to come of it," he said.