The following is a timeline of major events in the student clubs issue, which split the community and resulted in lawsuits and national media attention.
- October 1995: A small group of East High students petition for a premiere gay and lesbian club in a Utah public school. The request is forwarded to Superintendent Darline Robles, who asks State Superintendent for Public Instruction Scott Bean for help. The issue is forwarded to the Utah Attorney General's Office.- December 1995: The Attorney General's Office issues a statement that an East High gay club would be protected by the 1984 Equal Access Act.
- Jan. 11, 1996: The State Board of Education directs the Utah State Office of Education to "review and research all available means to restore power to local boards of education to have complete control over the formation of school-based clubs."
- Jan. 16, 1996: The Utah Eagle Forum calls on schools to ban all clubs rather than allow gay and lesbian student organizations.
- Jan. 30, 1996: State senators hold a secret meeting and discuss homosexuality in Utah's public and higher-education systems and possible litigation resulting from the gay-straight alliance.
- Feb. 2, 1996: Deseret News publishes results of a public opinion poll, in which 44 percent of the 600 people surveyed said gay and lesbian clubs should probably or definitely be allowed to meet. Twenty-five percent called for a ban, while 31 percent had no opinion or believed the state should pursue other options.
- Feb. 6, 1996: The Salt Lake City Board of Education calls for a public hearing on the matter. Meanwhile, hundreds of activists for gay and civil rights rally on Capitol Hill, decrying "legislative fear-mongering."
- Feb. 9, 1996: Sen. Craig Taylor, R-Kaysville, confirms two bills addressing gay clubs. One requiring written parental permission for school club membership died before the House could act. Another to bar school personnel from encouraging, supporting or con-doning illegal or immoral conduct passed, but was vetoed by Gov. Mike Leavitt.
- Feb. 15, 1996: ACLU files a lawsuit against the Utah Senate for its secret meeting.
- Feb. 20, 1996: Salt Lake City Board of Education votes 4-3 to ban all non-curricular clubs.
- Feb. 23, 1996: East and West students walk out of school in protest. West students march on the Capitol; en route, a 16-year-old girl is pinned under a car and seriously injured. Students ask school officials to reconsider action.
- Feb. 25, 1996: The Salt Lake school board meets in executive session to "self-evaluate" its controversial decision.
- Feb. 26, 1996: Jeff Hunt, attorney for the Utah Society of Professional Journalists, said the state public meetings act does not allow public bodies to meet privately to soothe strained relationships.
- Feb. 27, 1996: Salt Lake school board members and Superintendent Darline Robles privately meet with student groups to address the board decision.
Meanwhile, Skyline High School debate teacher Clayton Vetter publicly declares his homosexuality to support students in their fight for clubs. He and others announce formation of a gay-straight teachers alliance. Granite School District offices were flooded with calls in response.
- March 2, 1996: Three hundred protesters march to the Capitol to oppose the Salt Lake school board decision, with national media, including MTV, in tow.
- April 17, 1996: Salt Lake school board releases a list of approved school clubs. Students Against Drunk Drivers and West High's Bible club are out.
Meanwhile, the Legislature meeting in special session passes a law banning activity encouraging criminal conduct, promoting bigotry or involving human sexuality and prohibiting school personnel from encouraging or supporting criminal conduct by students or colleagues.
- Feb. 19, 1997: ACLU and Utah Senate sign an agreement ending the lawsuit over the closed-door meeting. The settlement acknowledges senators are required to comply with open-meetings laws, which they violated.