LGBT rights groups ask judge to block Utah from using law forbidding classroom discussion of homosexuality

Posted at 11:23 AM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 15:21:12-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A pair of LGBT rights groups have asked a federal judge to block the state of Utah from any enforcement of a law that forbids discussion of anything that could be construed as “advocacy” of homosexuality in schools.

In a court filing, Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights urged U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson to grant their injunction request.

“The negative impact of that discriminatory treatment is profound, communicating to gay students and others that there is something so undesirable, shameful, or controversial about ‘homosexuality’ that be affirmatively and expressly barred. The prohibition tells gay students that their sexual orientation is less valid than that of heterosexual students, and, thus, that they themselves are less valued,” Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, an attorney for the gay rights groups, wrote in the court filing.

Equality Utah, NCLR and three students are suing the Utah State School Board, as well as the Cache, Weber and Jordan School Districts over the law and school policies. They allege it violates the students’ right to equal protection under the law and First Amendment rights, citing students who have experienced bullying or harassment because of the school policies. Some LGBT rights activists have nicknamed the law “No Promo Homo.”

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has responded to the lawsuit by saying the statutes are not explicitly anti-gay. The state has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed. The federal court docket shows no hearings have been scheduled yet in the lawsuit.

Read the injunction request here: