A school has been ordered to give a gay student group the same rights as other extra curricular clubs.

Federal District Judge Joan Ericksen issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Osseo School District to afford a student group supporting gay rights the same footing as other extra-curricular student groups at Maple Grove High School.

Students sued the school district, claiming that groups including the Asian Culture Group and the Chess Club were allowed to promote events, but members of Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE) were not.

The Minnesota Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which campaigns for gay rights, filed the suit in September 2005 following nearly two years of discussions with the school district over their policy toward the student group Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE).

In her ruling, Judge Ericksen ordered the school to treat SAGE like any other student group when it came to access for meetings, avenues for communication and other rights afforded to other student groups.

The judge went on to rule that there is a likelihood that the ACLU-MN suit would ultimately be successful, and issued the preliminary injunction to prevent “Irreparable harm” from befalling the group while the case ran its course.

“Groups like SAGE work to promote tolerance and to ensure that traditionally marginalized students feel safe and valued at school” said ACLU-MN Legal Counsel Teresa Nelson.

“Instead of denying SAGE equal access, the school should be encouraging them, and this order is an important fist step toward that happening.”

Volunteer attorneys Tom Kayser, Michael Okerlund and David Pinto of the firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller Ciresi, L.L.P. handled the case for the ACLU-MN. “We’re very gratified by this decision,” said Tom Kayser, “We assume that the School District will quickly comply with this order.”