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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
Brian Barnard: The Death of a Civil Rights Champion
Brian Barnard, who championed American Atheists' fight in the Utah Highway Patrol Cross Case, has died peacefully in his Utah home. Barnard had been a leader in civil rights laws, working tirelessly to ensure that governments lived up to their responsibilities to protect and defend the constitution.
Barnard’s legacy includes a trip to the Utah Supreme Court where he successfully argued to have the Utah Highway Patrol remove a series of highway crosses from public roads on behalf of American Atheists, Inc.
American Atheists president, David Silverman said, “Brian worked tirelessly in the Utah Highway Patrol case. Without his persistence and dedication, we might have had a different outcome. He was a true champion for civil rights. He will be missed.”
Barnard was known for tackling some very unpopular causes. He represented prison inmates, atheists, animal rights activists, panhandlers and bar owners in legal fights over constitutional rights. Barnard fought to have Ten Commandments monuments either removed or have an Egyptian-based religion allowed to place their monument next to it.
Assistant Attorney General Tom Roberts faced Barnard in many cases, including the UHP cross case. Roberts said he always liked Barnard because the man was straightforward.
“He worked hard for his clients,” he said. “He had a real interest and passion in individual rights and liberties.”
“The loss of Brian can't be understated. Brian was the moving force for a huge number of cases and a huge number of actions representing people who really had very few other places to turn and very little voice in the community.” Commented Stewart Gollan, Barnard’s partner at the Utah Legal Clinic.
A press release from the Utah Legal Clinic stated, “We live in a more just world for his having been with us. He and his work will be deeply missed by those who worked with him and those who, without him, would likely have had nowhere to turn to protect their rights.”