A lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organisation — represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP — in the US state of Utah has filed a lawsuit against state laws that are against the community. Equality Utah has filed the suit on behalf of three school students, identified as John Doe, James Doe and Jessie Doe in the court documents.
The complaint, filed on Friday (21 October) night, alleged that the state laws violate the US constitution by forbidding discussion of homosexuality in schools that might be interpreted as "advocacy".
The legal suit, which is the first of its kind in the country to challenge such state laws, also stated that the laws go against federal education acts by discriminating against LGBT people and restricting the First Amendment rights of students and teachers.
"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," Equality Utah executive director, Troy Williams, said.
The LGBT rights body has also challenged several other laws and regulations of the state that prevent a positive portrayal of the gay community in curricula, classroom discussions, and student clubs through its legal suit. It claims that these kinds of biased restrictions create a negative environment for LGBT people, resulting in discrimination and bullying.
Ropes & Gray partner Douglass Hallward-Dremeier, said, "We are honored to represent Equality Utah and these brave students and their families in this historic case. These discriminatory laws are outdated, harmful, and blatantly unconstitutional.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, on the other hand, 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."