ACLU backs Kentucky GSA

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 21 2002 12:00 AM ET

After two denials of an application to form a gay-straight alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to officials at Boyd County High School in Kentucky demanding that they approve creation of the club, according to a press release from the ACLU.

The federal Equal Access Act requires schools to treat GSAs as they would any other school group, according to the letter sent Thursday to the Site Based Decision Making Council by the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky.

The GSA first applied for official recognition last March, but the council denied its application, telling the group's adviser that it was too late in the school year to start a new student organization. But when the GSA applied again earlier this month, the application was again turned down. This time the denial came with no official explanation, although one member of the council was quoted in a local newspaper as saying the club was unnecessary because of the prior existence of the Human Rights Club, an organization with a broader focus.

"Denying the GSA's right to exist with the excuse that the school already has a Human Rights Club is simply bogus," said James Esseks, litigation director for the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the ACLU. "According to federal law, the school doesn't get to make that decision for its students, and if the students want to start a GSA at a public school, they have every legal right to do so."