Anti-Gay T-Shirt Ruling Appealed
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 9, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET
(San Diego, California) A federal
court ruling that said a Southern California school had the power to suspend a
student for wearing a T-shirt denouncing homosexuality is being appealed.
Tyler Chase Harper was kicked him out of class at
Poway High School on the National Day of Silence in 2004 for not removing the
homemade T-shirt that said on the front "Be ashamed, our school embraced
what God has condemned," and on the back "Homosexuality is
Harper, with the help of the Alliance Defense
Fund brought two lawsuits against the school - one alleging his free speech
rights were violated, the other charging the school had no right to dictate
While the civil rights case was proceeding
through the courts the ADF sought an injunction barring Poway from refusing to
allow students to wear clothing with a political or social message.
U.S. District Judge John A. Houston in his ruling
cited a judgment last April by the Ninth Circuit that found Poway Unified School
District had not violated Harper's First Amendment rights.
The Ninth Circuit panel addressed only the narrow
issue of whether the dress code should be unenforced pending the outcome of the
student's First Amendment suit. The civil rights part of the case was appealed
to the US Supreme Court which will hear arguments later this month.
The appeals court has not set a date to hear
arguments in the dress code suit.
In last month's ruling Judge Houston agreed with
the school that the issue was one of protecting students.
The school district had pointed out that the year
prior to the Harper incident the campus was disrupted by protests and conflicts
between students over the Day of Silence.
The ADF said it was prepared to fight the dress
code issue to the Supreme Court as well.