Chris Samuels, Deseret News
FILE: ACLU Executive Director Karen McCreary speaks at a rally celebrating the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage at City Creek park in Salt Lake City, Friday, June 26, 2015.

SALT LAKE CITY — Karen McCreary, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, announced Sunday that she will retire at the end of June.

The organization's board of directors plans to begin recruiting for McCreary's replacement next month.

"I am so proud to have been a part of this amazing organization, which makes this a difficult decision for me," McCreary said in a prepared statement. "But it is important for me to have more time to spend with my immediate family, including my elderly parents who live out of state."

Under McCreary's leadership, which began in 2006, the ACLU advocated for the passage of Utah's nondiscrimination legislation, as well as legal challenges to previous governmental impediments to same-sex marriages. The organization also played a role in criminal justice reform, racial justice and state immigration policy.

The ACLU also more than doubled its staff, oversaw large fundraising growth and increased its participation at the Utah Legislature during McCreary's tenure.

"The ACLU is like a second family to me. I feel a deep connection to our mission and to those with whom I'm fortunate enough to work," she said.

Michael Weinholtz, board president of the ACLU of Utah, said he was grateful for McCreary's service.

"We are so impressed with all that Karen has accomplished during her time as our executive director. She will be leaving the organization in great shape," Weinholtz said in a prepared statement. "It will be a real challenge to replace Karen, but we are committed to upholding the incredible tradition of civil liberties progress and protection by the ACLU of Utah."


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