Gay Sex Ed Ban Tossed In Federal Court

Jasmine Beach-Ferrera speaks outside the courthouse after a court overturned a decades-old South Carolina law that prohibited discussion of LGBTQ issues in public school sex education classes. Campaign for Southern Equality

S. Carolina law banning LGBTQ sex ed is unconstitutional, judge rules

Under the 1988 law, public school teachers could be fired for discussing LGBTQ issues outside the context of sexually transmitted diseases.

March 12, 2020

NBC News – A U.S. district judge in South Carolina overturned a decades-old state law Wednesday that prohibited discussion of LGBTQ issues in public school sex education classes.

According to the ruling, the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed just two weeks earlier by student members of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance at the School of the Arts in Charleston County, as well as several legal and LGBTQ advocacy groups.

The law, passed in 1988, made it illegal for public school teachers to discuss “alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships” except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases.

Teachers who disobeyed the law — whether by including LGBTQ issues in their curriculum, answering a student’s question or allowing classroom discussion — could be fired.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [emphasis added].” – Equal Protection Clause, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Julie Wilensky, a senior attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which helped file the suit, said the law was clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional.

“There’s no comparable restriction in the law on health education about different sex relationships,” Wilensky told NBC News. “After 32 years, students in South Carolina will no longer be harmed by this outdated law.”

South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman was named as the defendant in the lawsuit, but the case was settled in a consent decree, meaning the resolution was mutually agreed upon. In a statement, Spearman said the court’s decision “moves South Carolina forward.”

“The balance of protecting freedoms and preventing discrimination will be upheld in any guidance we send to schools on this issue,” she added. Queers: The ‘Q’ In LGBTQ+ Means

South Carolina was one of a handful of states left with a so-called no promo homo law on the books, after similar laws were repealed in Arizona last year and in Utah in 2017 … Read more. 

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