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NEWS: Federal Court Allows Student To Wear Anti-Gay T-Shirt On Day Of Silence

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Federal Court Allows Student To Wear Anti-Gay T-Shirt On Day Of Silence

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff Posted: April 24, 2008 - 1:00 pm ET

(Chicago, Illinois) A suburban Chicago school district has been ordered to allow a student to wear a T-shirt denouncing homosexuality on the National Day of Silence, the day LGBT students draw attention to homophobia in schools.

The 11th annual National Day of Silence will be held on Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a temporary reversal of two lower courts rulings that found the Neuqua Valley High School was justified in barring Alexander Nuxoll from wearing a homemade T-shirt that said "Be Happy, Not Gay" on the Day of Silence in 2006.

Nuxoll and another student, Heidi Zamecnik, had tried to wear the shirts to class as a protest.

School officials ordered Zamecnik to remove the T-shirt. When she refused she was told to cross out "Not Gay" with a marking pen.

Last year, with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund, they went to court seeking an injunction barring the school from taking action against them for wearing the t-shirts.

A federal judge ruled that the school had the right to dictate a dress code.

The school said it would allow the students to wear t-shirts that said "Be Happy, Be Straight" because it would not degrade another group.

The conservative Christian ADF appealed to the 7th Circuit which ruled Wednesday that the lower court ruling were suspended until a civil rights case brought by the students is heard.

"We cannot accept the defendants' argument that the rule is valid because all it does is protect the 'rights' of the students against whom derogatory comments are directed," the appeals court said in a written ruling.

"Of course a school can ? often it must ? protect students from the invasion of their legal rights by other students. But people do not have a legal right to prevent criticism of their beliefs or for that matter their way of life," the ruling said.

The decision means that Nuxoll will be allowed to wear the T-shirt to class on Friday. Zamecnik has since graduated but is still a party in the civil rights case.

?365Gay.com 2008

http://365gay.com/Newscon08/04/042408ts.htm

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I thought it was originally in California?

Or maybe it's just a case that's similar.

Could I put on a shirt be happy not a bigoted christian?

ooh that's right not allow to offend others belief, well that's my belief.

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I thought it was originally in California?

Or maybe it's just a case that's similar.

Several cases, Drewbie.

:hug: TR

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/02/13/1426

Anti-Gay T-Shirt Wars

Timothy Kincaid

February 13th, 2008

tshirt_02.jpg

The Alliance Defense Fund is a legal arm of the social conservative movement. They are also the founders and promoters of the Day of Truth, an effort on school campuses to "counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda". The DOT grew out of efforts to oppose the Day of Silence, a program by gay students and their friends and allies to bring attention to how heterosexism and homophobia silence the voices of the LGBT minority.

The Day of Truth walks a careful line. While they talk about "tolerance for opposing viewpoints" (their anti-gay viewpoints, primarily) and claim that there is "freedom to change", they stop short of outright attacks on gay students.

But this is not because they want to avoid such attacks. Indeed, the Alliance Defense Fund would like little more than to teach hostility to homosexuality and silence anyone who disagrees. But school boards have restricted the ability of anti-gay students to publicly condemn their fellow students.

ADF is not happy.

They sued.

The best known of these cases is that of Tyler Chase Harper. Young Mr. Harper wore a T-Shirt to his school in the Poway Unified School District in response to the 2004 Day of Silence. His eloquent message was Homosexuality Is Shameful, Romans 1:27″. That didn't get Harper enough attention, so the next day he ratcheted up his message to "Be Ashamed" and "Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned."

On the second day, school administrators told him that he could not wear a message that was overtly hostile to other students and asked him to remove the statement ? which had been added to his plain black T-Shirt with masking tape. Harper refuse and, with the help of ADF, sued his school. (One can't help but wonder what Harper would have worn the next day if this message did not get his desired result).

The judge found that Harper did not have a case. ADF appealed.

In 2006, a three judge appeals panel found that "the school is permitted to prohibit Harper's conduct?if it can demonstrate that the restriction was necessary to prevent either the violation of the rights of other students or substantial disruption of school activities." But they did not rule on the case itself.

In August 2006, the Ninth Circuit appeals court denied en banc review (review by all of the judges). This time the decision was in more direct language.

"Hate speech, whether in the form of a burning cross, or in the form of a call for genocide, or in the form of a tee shirt misusing biblical text to hold gay students to scorn, need not under Supreme Court decisions be given the full protection of the First Amendment in the context of the school environment, where administrators have a duty to protect students from physical or psychological harms."

In their quest to equate the statement "treat all students with fairness" to "condemn some students based on one's own religious beliefs", ADF continued with their lawsuit to overturn restrictions on hostile messages in an environment in which attendance is compulsory. But by the time that the case made its way to the US Supreme Court, Chase Harper graduated and the decision was moot.

However Chase Harper's little sister Kelsie discovered that she too had a burning drive to condemn her fellow students and the lawsuit was transferred to her.

ADF asked the judge to reconsider his ruling throwing out the case. U.S. District Judge John Houston issued his ruling today. Not surprisingly, he hadn't changed his mind.

He wrote that a school "interest in protecting homosexual students from harassment is a legitimate pedagogical concern that allows a school to restrict speech expressing damaging statements about sexual orientation and limiting students to expressing their views in a positive manner."

Interestingly, the ADL is supported by that organization most hated by social conservatives, the American Civil Liberties Union.

David Blair-Loy, legal director for the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, said the case is troubling. The ACLU filed a brief in support of Harper's speech rights ? siding with the religious groups that they are often at odds with.

"This theory is a novel and extreme expansion of a school's rights to limit speech," Blair-Loy said. Schools potentially could ban any speech they say is "psychologically damaging."

"And let's face it: What about high school is not psychologically damaging?" Blair-Loy said. "This student wore a T-shirt that expressed an idea. It's an idea we don't agree with at the ACLU, but that is the essence of free speech. It's not just for ideas you like."

In the midst of this battle in the Great American Culture War Against Gay People, I think something is being forgotten by both sides. Any ruling that allows social conservatives to attack gay people? also allows other students to attack religion.

If messages are allowed that condemn homosexuality on religious terms, then would not messages that condemn religion on terms of orientation be allowed? Surely they could not disallow "Christianity is a Hateful Religion and those who follow it are Homophobes and Bigots".

And is it then a far reach from "Homosexuality Is Shameful" to "Catholicism is Idolatry" or "Speaking in Tongues is Satanic"? Would Jews be accused of "killing our Savior"? Would a school with a small Muslim minority be force to subject those students to T-Shirts attacking their faith?

This is not without precedent. In 1984 religious activists pushed the Equal Access Act through Congress so as to allow Bible Clubs on school campuses. It said that if a school allows ANY non-curricular organizations to meet, it has to all ALL non-curricular organizations to meet. This is the piece of legislation that protects Gay-Straight Alliances from being banned by homophobic school administrations - a consequence that Bible Club backers did not intend.

I doubt that ADF or those who support them have thought about the eventual results of their efforts. But, then again, this is a great fund raiser for ADF and I doubt they much care. After all, an anti-Christian T-shirt on some campus would give them another lawsuit for which to request funds and issue press releases.

For related information, see Anti-Gay Activists, Youth

LINK

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I thought it was originally in California?

Or maybe it's just a case that's similar.

Could I put on a shirt be happy not a bigoted christian?

ooh that's right not allow to offend others belief, well that's my belief.

There was a case here in California, at my high school when I was a student there, but there was a big difference. The T-shirt the guy was told he could not wear read "God Hates Fags" on the front and (if I remember correctly) "Fags Will Go To Hell" (or something like that) on the back. His parents went to court and their complaint against the school and the school district was thrown out.

Colin :hug:

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I'm surprised to hear the verdict went this way. In the past the courts have usually ruled that schools have the right to prevent students from wearing clothes that would be 'disruptive'. Usually, that was in cases of kids with pro drug legalisation messages etc.

I always thought those decisions were wrongheaded.

I agree with the court this time that bigotted students hsould be allowed to broadcast their bigotry.

I just hope they continue this trend when other students start wearing clothes with controversial messages

"Eat a queer fetus for Jesus!" (I actually saw that on a bumper sticker once)

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Anti-gay 'Day of Truth' fails to make its mark in US schools

By Adam Lake ? April 29, 2008 - 16:08

Gay rights groups across America have breathed a sigh of relief after the homophobic ?Day of Truth? failed to make an impact on American schools.

Gay news group, GoodasYou.org described that events failure:

"The so-called "Day of Truth" went by yesterday with less than a whimper.

"While last Friday's pro-acceptance, anti-bullying 'Day of Silence' attracted considerable attention, there was barely a mention of Monday's anti-gay endeavour on either mainstream or "pro-family" news sites, and none of the usual social conservative groups issued so much as a press release celebrating the event.

"In fact, a Google News search doesn't turn up even one "DOT" mention posted after 4/27."

The event came three days after the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) 'Day of Silence', which highlights the persecution that many LGBT students in America, and around the world, still regularly face daily.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) established the 'Day of Truth' to oppose the promotion of same-sex marriage legalization and to express their viewpoint on homosexuality from a conservative Christian perspective.

It is held annually following the 'Day of Silence'.

According to the ADF, students who have attempted to speak against gay rights have been censored or, in some cases, punished for their actions under campus hate-speech rules.

ADF bills the ?Day of Truth? as an opportunity for students to, "Counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda," and publicly exercise their freedom of speech.

The event aims to be student-led in the same model as the 'Day of Silence', with students forming small groups at their own school to organize and promote participation, though it is organized by the national ADF.

The organisers website advises students on what to do if teacher attempt to halt their homophobic actions:

"ADF has more than 1,000 allied attorneys who are available to assist you if you run into complications with school officials or pro-homosexual advocacy groups on your campus."

The website continues:

"We are merely trying to point those who struggle with homosexual behaviour to Christ?s love and healing.

"When Christ loved someone, like the woman caught in adultery, he did not condemn her but expressed compassion for her. He also gave her the loving admonition to "go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11). As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot sit idly by while someone is trapped in sinful behaviour that separates him or her from God.

"We must be able to show people their need for a relationship with Jesus Christ, which often comes through illuminating the sinfulness of their behaviour that separates them from their loving God."

The Alliance Defense Fund has many connections with Christian ex-gay organizations that claim that LGBT persons can change to heterosexuality through prayer, intervention and psychological counselling.

The Alliance Defense Fund receives funding from Focus on the Family, a group that also funds Exodus Ministries. ADF also lists Exodus as an allied organization on their webpage.

Resources for the group?s ?Day of Truth? event were prepared by Exodus Ministries, which claims to be able to help LGBT persons become heterosexual, included in their "Homosexuality FAQ Sheet."

The fact sheet reports a 52 percent success rate for treating "unwanted homosexual attraction."

On the day of this years ?Day of Silence? American talk show host Larry King made an emotional plea to viewers that Americans must demand tolerance for LGBT students.

The event was particularly poignant after the homophobic murder of a gay teenager.

Fifteen year old Lawrence King was gunned down by 14-year-old Brandon McInerney earlier this year in Oxnard, California because he was gay, and had allegedly asked McInerney to be his valentine.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-7517.html

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There was a case here in California, at my high school when I was a student there, but there was a big difference. The T-shirt the guy was told he could not wear read "God Hates Fags" on the front and (if I remember correctly) "Fags Will Go To Hell" (or something like that) on the back. His parents went to court and their complaint against the school and the school district was thrown out.

Cases like this make me mental. Sadly, I have to agree with Res Ipsa above. Freedom of speech also extends to idiots and morons, even (and especially) if we don't agree with them.

I think this freedom would be excepted if the T-shirt or sign specifically promoted violence against any minorities, like "Death to Fags" or "N****** Go Back to Africa," or something that horrible. But I think a T-shirt that said "God Hates Fags" should be allowed.

I would hope, at the same time, people would wear conflicting T-shirts that said, "God Hates Only People That Preach Hate," or "I'm Gay and God Loves Me." And one would hope that anybody stupid enough to wear a "God Hates Fags" shirt would be shunned, mocked, and yelled at.

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Cases like this make me mental. Sadly, I have to agree with Res Ipsa above. Freedom of speech also extends to idiots and morons, even (and especially) if we don't agree with them.

I think a mitigating factor that should be considered, however, is that attendance at school is mandatory. This means, if people wear deliberately offensive message-bearing shirts, those offended, or targeted, are forced to view them, to be in their presence, perhaps many times during the day. This makes wearing the shirt at school different from, say, at a movie theather, where the person offended has the liberty to simply leave.

I think the schools have a repsonsibility to see their attendees are not harmed, or attacked, physically or psychologically, or are not subject to this sort of mental abuse, while on campus.

C

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The First Amendment is more traditionally invoked to 'shield' children from adult images and ideas. While children should learn the Constitution in school, they are not adult citizens until locally recognized as having reached their majority.

Most courts have divided student speech into three categories:I. Vulgar, lewd, obscene, and plainly offensive speech (Fraser standard -the more flexible Fraser standard applies where the speech involved 'intrudes upon the function of the school to inculcate manners and habits of civility', including that deemed 'lewd') II. School-sponsored speech (Hazelwood standard - mascots, clubs or distributed school materials) III. All other student speech (Tinker standard - where speech involved causes 'substantial disruption')

1969 Tinker decisions: This ruling means school officials may not silence student expression just because they dislike it. They must reasonably forecast, based on evidence and not on an "undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance," that the student expression would lead to either (a) a substantial disruption of the school environment, or (b) an invasion of the rights of others.

1986 Fraser: In its opinion, the Supreme court majority stated that "the constitutional rights of students in public school are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings."Instead, the high court set up a balancing test: "the freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in schools and classrooms must be balanced against society's countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior."

1988 Hazelwood: By this ruling, the Court created the Hazelwood standard, which states that "educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns."

:stare: TR

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"ADF has more than 1,000 allied attorneys who are available to assist you if you run into complications with school officials or pro-homosexual advocacy groups on your campus."

The website continues:

"We are merely trying to point those who struggle with homosexual behaviour to Christ?s love and healing.

"When Christ loved someone, like the woman caught in adultery, he did not condemn her but expressed compassion for her. He also gave her the loving admonition to "go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11). As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot sit idly by while someone is trapped in sinful behaviour that separates him or her from God.

"We must be able to show people their need for a relationship with Jesus Christ, which often comes through illuminating the sinfulness of their behaviour that separates them from their loving God."

The Alliance Defense Fund has many connections with Christian ex-gay organizations that claim that LGBT persons can change to heterosexuality through prayer, intervention and psychological counselling.

The Alliance Defense Fund receives funding from Focus on the Family, a group that also funds Exodus Ministries. ADF also lists Exodus as an allied organization on their webpage.

Resources for the group?s ?Day of Truth? event were prepared by Exodus Ministries, which claims to be able to help LGBT persons become heterosexual, included in their "Homosexuality FAQ Sheet."

The fact sheet reports a 52 percent success rate for treating "unwanted homosexual attraction."

Ugh This makes me want to puke

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