Judge Allows Homosexual Club in California High School

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Santa Ana, CA (CNSNews.com) - A federal judge on Friday ordered school officials to allow a homosexual tolerance club to meet at an Orange County, CA, high school pending resolution of a lawsuit. The judge said he felt that, otherwise, the homosexual group might suffer "irreparable harm."

US District Court Judge David O Carter issued the preliminary injunction against the Orange Unified School District while a lawsuit filed by two El Modena High School students plays out in court.

"Plaintiffs have been injured not only by the board's excessive delay but also by the inability to effectively address the hardships they encounter at school every day,'' Carter said in a written ruling.

Even though Carter ruled temporarily in favor of the students, his ruling also urged the Orange Unified School District to appeal its case to the state Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the school district requested a stay of the judge's order so they may appeal the ruling. The judge is expected to rule on it no later than Monday.

The plaintiff's attorney, David Cordell, said 15-year-old Anthony Colin and 16-year-old Heather Zetin proposed the club in September partly because of the case of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual college student beaten to death in Wyoming.

Cordell's two-hour argument on Wednesday was followed later by two hours of argument by James Bowles, who represents the Orange Unified School District.

Bowles argued that the school board does not believe the students have met their burden to show that an order is necessary.

The homosexual students filed the federal lawsuit in November, saying the board discriminated and violated their free speech rights. The following month, the board, which had earlier put off making a decision, voted unanimously not to allow the club.

In court papers, attorneys for the school district said the club was disallowed because it covers issues taught in the sex education curriculum. The district said it would reconsider the club if it changed its name and refrained from discussing human sexuality topics.

Cordell said the students complied with all requirements asked of them but last month the board voted to deny the application. He argued that changing the name would hide the club's focus on sexual orientation.

Colin and Zetin had stated earlier that their proposed Gay-Straight Alliance Club is meant as a forum for homosexual students to discuss discrimination.

Outside of the courthouse, protesters chanted anti-homosexual slogans and carried placards. One sign read, "Gay clubs are propaganda.''

Neither student was in court on Friday, but their parents expressed relief with the judge's ruling.

"It's about who these kids are. It's about who they love. It's not about sex,'' said Zetin's mother, Judy Anderson.

El Modena already allows clubs that represent Christians and ethnic minorities.