Kids in ‘No Promo Homo’ lawsuit against Utah ask to use pseudonyms in court over fear of being outed

Posted at 4:12 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 18:12:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for three minors and their parents who are participating in a lawsuit against the state of Utah over its law forbidding anything construed as “advocacy” of homosexuality in school have asked a federal judge to allow them to use pseudonyms, fearing they could be outed.

In a federal court filing on Monday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing them, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells to allow them to proceed throughout the lawsuit without identifying them by name.

“This lawsuit will require Minor Plaintiffs to disclose highly personal information, including details about their sexual orientation and non-conforming gender identity,” attorney Kate Kendell wrote. “Courts have routinely recognized that under these circumstances, litigants should be allowed to proceed under pseudonyms.”

Kendell argued that her clients will be disclosing harassment they have suffered, including mental and physical harm, as part of the litigation against the state of Utah. She said referring to them by initials would not be enough.

“But here, even this protection would be inadequate, because Minor Plaintiffs live in small communities and come from a small pool of potential litigants. If this lawsuit proceeded using Minor Plaintiffs’ initials and Plaintiffs’ Guardians’ full names, Minor Plaintiffs could be easily identified, leading to the disclosure of highly sensitive information.”

On Friday, the NCLR and Equality Utah filed a lawsuit against the Utah State Board of Education, the Weber School District, the Jordan School District and the Cache County School District over what LGBT rights activists have dubbed the “No Promo Homo” law. It forbids discussion of things deemed “advocacy” of homosexuality in Utah schools.

The lawsuit targets the constitutionality of the law and claims it unfairly targets LGBT students and stifles free speech rights. The suit is the first of its kind in the nation.

Read the filing here: