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Board to Fight Gay-Straight Alliance in Court

Florida School
Board to Fight Gay-Straight Alliance in Court

Attorneys for the Okeechobee County school board in south Florida are planning to enlist experts to testify about the "negative effects of homosexual sex" in their fight to prevent a gay-straight alliance from meeting at Okeechobee High School.

Attorneys for the Okeechobee County school board in south Florida are planning to enlist experts to testify about the "negative effects of homosexual sex" in their fight to prevent a gay-straight alliance from meeting at Okeechobee High School.

"This is the most rabidly homophobic response that the school board could have taken," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Robert Rosenwald said about a summary of the school board's planned witness testimony in the upcoming trial, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post.

The ACLU is representing the GSA and former Okeechobee High School student Yasmin Gonzales in a suit claiming that the school board's refusal to allow the alliance to meet on campus while allowing other clubs violates federal law.

The trial is scheduled to start in March, but ACLU attorney Rosenwald asked this week for the date to be moved back to September in order to allow more time to prepare. A judge has said the club can meet on school grounds while the case works its way through the courts.

The school board has not returned calls for comment, nor have their attorneys released the names of the experts they plan to use. They have argued that the alliance is a "sex-based" club violating a Florida statute requiring schools to teach abstinence "while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage."

Gonzalez has said she and other students wanted to form the GSA to provide a safe environment for students to talk about homophobia and to promote tolerance of all students, regardless of sexual orientation. Nationwide, more than 3,000 GSAs are registered with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. Rosenwald has called the school board's planned testimony irrelevant, saying that regardless of people's views on homosexuality, the school board is obligated under federal law to allow the alliance to meet on the school's campus. (The Advocate)

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