The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit reversed a lower court’s ruling against an Illinois student Wednesday, saying the district court must order a Naperville high school to suspend its ban on a T-shirt that reads “Be Happy, Not Gay” while the student’s lawsuit proceeds. School officials prohibited student Alex Nuxoll, who is represented by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, from wearing the clothing.
“Christian students shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum. “Public school officials cannot censor a message expressing one viewpoint on homosexual behavior and then at the same time allow messages that express another viewpoint. The court’s ruling is a victory for all students seeking to protect their First Amendment rights on a school campus.”
Nuxoll, a student at Neuqua Valley High School, desires to express his perspective at various times throughout the year, including the next school day after the “Day of Silence.” Other students at the school are permitted to wear shirts with messages supporting homosexual behavior as part of the “Day of Silence,” which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. The 7th Circuit ruling prevents school officials from singling out Nuxoll’s message for censorship.
I think the court made the right decision since gay-friendly students are allowed to wear pro-gay shirts today. However, I can definitely see how a t-shirt war of messages could disrupt a school on other days.
The Day Of Silence is being observed at over 6500 schools around the nation today and as we know, the wingnuts have been lobbying to keep their kids at home. I’ll report on absenteeism rates as reports come in.