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Lawsuit filed against Utah over laws that prevent discussion of homosexuality in schools

Meka Beresford October 22, 2016

Equality Utah are filing a lawsuit against Utah state laws that that ‘forbid discussion of homosexuality in schools that might be interpreted as advocacy.’

The lawsuit is being brought by the LGBT organisation in conjunction with the National Centre for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and law firm Ropes & Gray LLP on behalf of three anonymous school students.

The complaint alleged that Utah state laws violate the US constitution because they go against federal education acts by discriminating against LGBT people and restricting the First Amendment rights of students and teachers.

The lawsuit is the first of its kind to challenge state laws.

Equality Utah executive director, Troy Williams, said: “These are some of the last remaining anti-LGBT laws that are currently being enforced in the country, and they’re especially odious, because they explicitly apply to school classes on every subject.”

“These laws send a message that our lives are shameful and must be hidden and censored. They create a deadly culture of silence and non-acceptance, causing harms that can never fully be undone. The time has come to end the stigma and strike down this shameful law,” he added.

Equality Utah have challenged a number of laws and regulations in the state that prevent a positive portrayal of the LGBT community.

The organisation claim these restrictions create a negative environment for LGBT people, resulting in discrimination and bullying.

Ropes & Gray partner Douglass Hallward-Dremeier, said: “These discriminatory laws are outdated, harmful, and blatantly unconstitutional. They serve no purpose other than to isolate and stigmatize young people who deserve to be fully supported and embraced.”

NCLR executive director Kate Kendell said: “It is long past time for these dangerous laws to be struck from the books. 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.”

A transgender student filed a lawsuit against school district for enforcing a bathroom ban earlier this month.

Juliet Evancho is one of three students suing the Pine-Richland School district in federal court after the school board approved a policy that requires students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex given at birth.

More: Law, lawsuit, LGBT, school, US, US, Utah

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