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GSA fights to
meet at Florida high school

GSA fights to
meet at Florida high school

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a motion in federal court Friday to allow the Gay-Straight Alliance to meet on school grounds during legal proceedings against Okeechobee High School.The school district has prohibited the OHS Gay-Straight Alliance from meeting since the club was formed in September 2006.

"These brave students in Okeechobee are trying to promote tolerance and acceptance while fostering a safe and open environment for everyone to learn," said Rob Rosenwald, attorney for the ACLU of Florida's LGBT Advocacy Project, in an ACLU press release. "Clearly it is not just the students that need to be taught tolerance but the administrators and faculty who are relegating gay and lesbian students to a second-class status and sending a message of prejudice."

The school has an abstinence-only policy for its sex education curriculum, which officials say would be violated if the alliance were allowed to meet. The ACLU says that argument is faulty--the alliance aims to promote tolerance, understanding, and acceptance of one another, regardless of sexual orientation, and does not address or discuss sexual activity.

"We just want to be able to meet on campus like every other student," Yasmin Gonzalez, president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, told the ACLU. "I may be able to move on when I graduate, but we have to stand up against the hatred and bigotry today to ensure that everyone is treated as equals tomorrow."

Lawsuits on behalf of gay-straight alliances have been won in five states. (The Advocate)

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