Censored: “Some People Are Gay, Get Over It”

In a year where marriage equality swept the nation, you’d think that a high school student wearing a t-shirt that says “Some People Are Gay, Get Over It” would barely be noticed. In rural Giles County, Tennessee, you’d be wrong. 

Back on August 5, the first day of her senior year at Richland High School, Rebecca Young wore that t-shirt. No-one much cared until she ran into the principal, who told her she couldn’t wear it to school again. Not only that, he told her she couldn’t wear anything that showed “support of the LGBT community.”  Say what? 

Rebecca called the ACLU of Tennessee, which sued the school on her behalf. Predictably, a federal judge issued a preliminary ruling yesterday that the principal’s censorship violates Rebecca’s free speech rights. 

This isn’t a landmark legal case; indeed, the judge noted that “the legal ground covering [these] issues is so well-trod that the Court finds itself surprised at the need to journey down this path.” But it’s important nonetheless because it keeps the dialogue on LGBT rights open in the very nooks and crannies of the country where the conversation is most needed. 

LGBT people made tremendous strides in court this year because we had made serious progress on moving public opinion about LGBT people in prior years. If our momentum is to continue, and if we are to make further advances in courts and legislatures all across the country, the country’s discussion about LGBT rights needs to continue and indeed to deepen. 

With the help of courageous young people like Rebecca Young, who are willing not only to wear the t-shirt but also to sue their school over it, we will make sure that all of America continues this conversation that is crucial to continued progress on LGBT rights.  

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Anonymous

The judge in his ruling basically stated that the principal is an ignorant bumpkin.

Bruce Brown, MD

As a proud ACLU member I am a little disturbed by the tone of this article. It sounds as if we went to bat for this girl because she was acting "in support of the gay community". My feeling is that the ACLU's real client is the Constitution and they should also go to bat for someone wearing a 'Gay marriage is wrong' T shirt!

Anonymous

That's really good reasoning. But ACLU has supported both sides. For this article only, the tone felt like this.

Damien McLeod

Hooray Rebecca, you're right on.

Anonymous

I wonder if a Christian had worn a shirt that says Jesus Saves if they would have defended them. Of course NOT. But they will defend the sickos and perverts of our society like homosexuals. The only way they get their way is because liberal activist judges gave forced perversion on us i.e. homosexuality.

Anonymous

You're completely wrong. The ACLU regularly fights for the rights of Christians, when they are not trampling on the rights of others. You can view many of the cases here: http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/

P.S. describing gay people as 'sickos' and 'perverts' demonstrates that you're not actually interested in religious liberty: you just want a protected space where you can hate.

Christopher Kuhi

Do your research. The ACLU has defended plenty of religious people who were prevented from practicing their first amendment rights.

Anonymous

Uh, kids wear shirts like that all the time and never asked to take them off. It's accepted in our county despite your idea that you are a minority, you a vast majority. And if a kid was asked to take it off, they'd defend it. Just like they defended the KKK's right to have a rally.

Anonymous

You are wrong! The ACLU defends Constitutionally provided rights (such as Free Speech which is the issue here, not LBGT rights)!

Anonymous

As a supporter of the ACLU, I think I can say that if someone were sent home for wearing a Christian message, and they contacted the ACLU, the ACLU would most certainly defend them. The ACLU is interested defending anyone who's civil liberties have been violated.

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