Two LGBT rights groups representing
three plaintiffs on Friday filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a Utah
law that bars teachers from discussing homosexuality in a positive
The National Center for Lesbian Rights
(NCLR) and Equality Utah are representing two students who are gay
and a 7-year-old former student who is gender non-conforming.
Identified as John Doe in the complaint, the 7-year-old stopped
attending a public elementary school after he was traumatized in a
bathroom by a tormentor.
The groups claim in their lawsuit that
Utah's “Anti-Gay School Law” violates Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972, the Equal Access Act and the Equal Protection
Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“[T]he Anti-Gay School Laws single
out ‘homosexuality’ and LGBT persons for negative treatment,
improperly restrict student and teacher speech about ‘homosexuality’
and LGBT persons, and create a culture of silence and non-acceptance
for LGBT students and teachers, all of which puts LGBT students at
heightened risk of isolation, harassment, and longterm negative
impacts on their health and well-being while serving no legitimate
state interest,” the 38-page
Similar laws exist in seven other
states, including South Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas,
Mississippi and Oklahoma.
NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
called such laws “dangerous” in a statement.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has held that
sexual orientation is ‘a normal expression of human sexuality’
and that LGBT people must be treated equally under the law,”
said. “These laws openly discriminate against LGBT students and
teachers. They stigmatize vulnerable young people who should be
celebrated and supported, and they censor constitutionally protected
free speech, including students’ right to receive accurate
information about sexual orientation and LGBT people.”