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Judge rules Georgia Tech gay rights manual biased


E.J.

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Judge rules Georgia Tech gay rights manual biased

Associated Press

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ATLANTA (AP) - A federal judge says a gay rights Web site sanctioned by the Georgia Institute of Technology cannot use language that discriminates against religions that condemn homosexuality.

The Safe Space site, a campus resource for gay and lesbian students, gave an overview of various religions' views toward homosexuality. For instance, it called the Mormon church anti-gay and the Episcopal Church more receptive to gays.

The Alliance Defense Fund sued Georgia Tech in 2006 on behalf of 2 students who said the university discriminated against students with conservative religious views through policies aimed at protecting the campus from intolerance.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester ordered religious information removed because it violates the separation of church and state. He denied the students' request for damages.

University officials said the information was removed a year ago, and that the ruling requires no further action from Tech. They said they disagree with the ruling but do not plan to appeal.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

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Judge dismisses part of students' free speech suit against Tech

By ANDREA JONES

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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A federal court judge dismissed some of the claims this week made by two Georgia Tech students who sued the school over free speech rights.

But the court's final ruling agreed that a Tech program that advocates tolerance of homosexuality should change its training manual.

A lawsuit filed by Tech students Ruth Malhotra and Orit Sklar in federal court two years ago challenged Georgia Tech's restrictions on speech, its student activity fee policy and the discussion of religious views in Safe Space, a college program that advocates tolerance of homosexuality.

The suit, backed by a national Christian legal defense fund, has been winding its way through the legal system.

Malhotra, a conservative Christian, argued that a Safe Space training manual pushed a religious viewpoint, which violates constitutional law. The judge agreed.

Last August, Georgia Tech agreed to change portions of a speech policy for students living in on-campus housing. Lawyers argued the policy was vague and unconstitutional. Tech took out wording that prohibits students from any attempt to "injure, harm" or "malign" a person because of "race, religious belief, color, sexual/affectational orientation, national origin, disability, age or gender."

Lawyers for the Alliance Defense Fund applauded the judge's decision to remove the religious information from Safe Space's program manual.

"A public university should not be open to disparaging the beliefs of students who hold to a biblical view of homosexual behavior while endorsing other views," ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum said in a statement. "The university's 'Safe Space' program had no business siding with certain religious beliefs while viciously attacking others."

Malhotra and Sklar said they believed Tech's policies aimed at protecting students from intolerance end up, instead, discriminating against conservative students who speak out against homosexuality and feminism and other issues.

Georgia Tech officials said they are happy with the outcome of the case and do not plan to appeal

"Georgia Tech will not be required to take any actions as the result of today's court ruling," Georgia Tech spokesman James Fetig said in a statement. "We are pleased that the plaintiffs were awarded no damages, and that the judge ruled in favor of the Georgia Tech free speech zone policy and use of student activity fees.

"As a result of today's ruling and the settlement of an earlier housing policy contention, Georgia Tech practices are exactly the same as before the suit was filed."

Copyright? 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Malhotra and Sklar said they believed Tech's policies aimed at protecting students from intolerance end up, instead, discriminating against conservative students who speak out against homosexuality and feminism and other issues.

This sentence chokes me, more than all the others. If you substitute a few words, you can see how incredibly stupid it really is.

Rinkum and Dinkim said they believed Tech's policies aimed at protecting African American and Jewish students from intolerance end up, instead, discriminating again conservative Neo Nazi students who speak out against blacks and Judaism and other issues.

It absolutely boggles my mind that the right to verbally abuse someone based on a belief can override the right of someone to exist in peace with a 'condition' you cannot control or change.

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Guest Rustic Monk

i can see both sides of the arguement here. but i agree with the judge, and the arguement that won out. but, this was not a major victory as far as servative christian values-put-to-work goes. the "safe-space" program probably not going by the GLSEN book. GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network has a "Safe-Schools Program" that promotes "Safe-Spaces". Here is the manual for GLSEN's "Safe Space" program. [it's PDF] It's a little handbook made for educators to educate themselves on LGBT-related social issues in the K through 12. I don't like how the type of program at Georgia Tech and the National GLSEN program so so easily confused. And I can totally understand how some would think of a scale of acceptance towards homosexuals would be offending. What happened may have been masqueraded as free speech, but I think it was in favor of harmony. With something like "anti-gay day" nipping at our heels, we really are going to have to find a better way of educating people about this stuff.

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