CINCINNATI (CN) – A divided Sixth Circuit panel reversed dismissal of a lawsuit challenging a Kentucky high school’s anti-harassment policy that banned students from speaking out against homosexuality.
The speech code at Boyd County High School barred students from stigmatizing or insulting other students “on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation.” The code was the implemented after a group of students successfully sued to start a chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance.
Another group of students, led by Timothy Morrison, filed a lawsuit claiming the new policy and mandatory anti-harassment training prevented them from telling others that homosexuality is a sin according to their religious beliefs.
The school board revised the policy to allow most anti-gay speech, and the district court dismissed the case as moot. But the circuit allowed the case to continue, saying Morrison has a viable claim for nominal damages. Judge Cook wrote the dissenting opinion. See ruling in Morrison v. Board of Education of Boyd County.