News and Updates

Jane Marquardt is a activist, grandmother, attorney, seeker of good health, writer, and occasional Huffington Post contributor.

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The Pavan Family, photo by NCLR

Ending Conversion therapy in utah

Since 2001, Tami and I have supported Equality Utah and its mission of securing equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ Utahns and their families.  This year, Equality Utah is working to stop the damaging exercise of Conversion Therapy in Utah

For decades, too many LGBTQ+ youth have been subjected to the harmful practice of conversion therapy.  Eleven states and the District of Columbia have already made conversion therapy illegal for state-licensed mental health providers.  Conversion therapy is still being implemented in Utah County and Salt Lake County.   

Twenty Years later:Reflections on the death of Matthew SHepard

Imagine experiencing the death of a child.  And then imagine your child was a gay college student who died as a result of a brutal attack that left him beaten and suffering. And next imagine that tensions were so high at the time of his funeral that you, his parent, had to wear a bulletproof vest under your suit to the service.  And finally imagine it took twenty years to find a place where you could safely lay your son’s remains to rest without fear of them being desecrated by further anti-gay violence.   Such has been the journey of the parents of Matthew Shepard since his horrific murder in October of 1998.  This month, with much love and respect, Matthew was finally interred in a place of honor in the Washington National Cathedral.  



Last week our house just missed burning to the ground. From a glass half full perspective, last week our house was saved. I feel self-indulgent to even be focusing on it, because as I write this there is a raging fire in Northern California. Thousands and thousands of people have been forced to flee, hundreds of homes have been burned to the ground, people have died. Here in Utah, there are at least six active wildfires burning today. As my wife, Tami, noted this morning on our neighborhood walk in this valley-wide smoky air, “It seems like the earth is smoldering.” Yet in the midst of wildfires and national political chaos (where it seems like our country is divided into two acerbic camps who have no chance of understanding one another), our fire gave us the chance to experience a fabulously functioning local government and the generous and courageous actions of family and friends.


Peace. Love. Opportunity.

The specific notion of equality extends beyond just fair treatment under the law and into the realm of equal access to opportunities for all people to achieve their full potential.