ACLU: Another victory for LGBT students in Florida

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From the ACLU's Get Busy, Get Equal blog: A federal judge in Florida has reinstated an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of students at Okeechobee High School who are trying to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA). The case, which started back in November 2006, was dismissed earlier after the only remaining member of the GSA transferred out of the school. At that time, the court dismissed the case even though a new student came forward wanting to participate in the GSA. Although we had argued that the former students should be able to proceed because they were entitled to nominal damages, the court disagreed.

We asked the court to reconsider its decision. The court did something courts don’t do that often: it completely changed its mind. The Court reinstated the lawsuit, which is now scheduled for trial in September. And perhaps best of all, the court said it will now allow the former members of the GSA to proceed in the case for nominal damages.

The Okeechobee School Board has been foiled once again in its many attempts to keep students at the High School from meeting. They have argued (so far unsuccessfully) that GSAs are sex-based clubs that lead to premarital sex and cause harm to students. Stay tuned for more details about the upcoming trial. It will be interesting to see what evidence the school will try to put forth to prove that it is harmful to have a club where students discuss how to combat the rampant anti-gay harassment at the school.