A new lawsuit seeks to overturn a state law in Utah barring teachers from discussing homosexuality in a positive way.
It argues that the law violates First Amendment free speech protections as well 14th Amendment right to equal protection.
Court papers state: “The anti-gay school laws were enacted in order to express moral disapproval of ‘homosexuality’ and of LGBT persons. They do not serve any legitimate state interest.”
Utah is one of eight US states with so-called “no promo homo” laws, but the only one where such legislation has been challenged in court.
Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams announced the lawsuit against the Utah State Board of Education at the organization’s annual fundraiser, the Allies Dinner, on Friday night, saying that the laws are some of the most odious anti-LGBT regulations that remain on the books.
“It explicitly stigmatizes queer students. It sends a message that our lives are something shameful, something that must be censored and erased,” Williams told the attendees. “The time has come to end the stigma and strike ‘no promo homo’ from state law.”
The lawsuit claims that children are harmed by the law because it prevents discussion of sexual orientation and LGBT people. Equality Utah said one of its plaintiffs is a gay teen who has been harassed in high school and claimed he could not give a school report on his family history because he wanted to mention his uncle, who is in a same-sex marriage.