Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

High Court Denies Purported Anti Gay Free Speech Case

The Supreme Court said Monday that it would not take the case of a Kentucky high school student who wants to sue his school district over a policy that allegedly barred him from expressing opposition to homosexuality. Not even close. Teaching kids respect for fellow human beings does not a constitutional crisis make.

The justices did not comment in denying the appeal of Timothy Morrison, who alleges he was harmed by the policy of the Boyd County Board of Education. Morrison sued the Boyd County school district over a policy that required students to undergo anti-harassment training. He claimed the policy threatened him with punishment for expressing religious beliefs in opposition to homosexuality. Morrison is a professed Christian who believes his religion requires him to speak out against what he sees as behavior that doesn’t comport with his understanding of Christian morality. What has that got to do with harassing someone?

Morrison was never punished under the policy, which was later changed to exempt speech that would normally be protected off campus. So the case may not have had a precise set of facts upon which to deliver a thoughtful ruling. More than just that, a course curriculum designed to teach children how to be more thoughtful to others and not harass their fellow classmates because of their ethnic, sociological or sexual backgrounds does not transparently appear to infringe on another's right to freely practice religion. How is it any different then teaching athletic or mental skill sets?

The school district adopted the policy and established the anti-harassment training as part of a 2004 legal settlement that ended a lawsuit between the school district and a gay-rights group that wanted recognition as an extracurricular group, and were not allowed to meet on campus. Broward County, you may recall, has had the same battles, with religious groups fighting sensitivity training in local schools. What an abuse of alleged religious free speech.

Meanwhile, gay groups yesterday gathered in Fort Lauderdale to commemorate the slaying of a young transsexual on Northwest 6th Street. His mom is in the picture above.

Police have called it a Hate Crime. The killer has not been captured. Maybe if the murderer had been to a school and had this kind of anti harassment training, he would not have been so fast to take another's life for a lifestyle different than his own.

No comments:

Post a Comment