LGBT Filtering Victory!

Yesterday we won a great settlement of a lawsuit against two Tennessee school districts. Before, public schools in Nashville and Knoxville had blocked access to all Web sites that presented positive information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Yet they allowed access to Web sites urging individuals to attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity (a practice the American Psychological Association recently denounced). Blocking access to just one side of a debate is called viewpoint discrimination – the government cannot favor one side of the debate over another – and it violates the Constitution. Yesterday a federal court approved a settlement binding the schools to never again block access to the favorable sites and agreeing that, if the schools violate the settlement, the court will take up the lawsuit again.

Students and faculty were understandably upset by Nashville and Knoxville's discriminatory practice, which they protested to school officials for many months before finally resorting to contacting the ACLU of Tennessee. When the ACLU and the Tennessee affiliate investigated, it quickly became apparent that about 80 percent of Tennessee school districts were using the same Internet filtering software as Nashville and Knoxville, strongly suggesting that all of these schools were blocking access to the LGBT-supportive websites.

After Nashville and Knoxville ignored written requests from the ACLU that they change their policy, we sued the school districts on behalf of a courageous group of students and a school librarian who decided to take a public stand. One of those students, Bryanna Shelton, shared her thoughts when the case was first filed in this video.

The school districts hastily backed down and stopped blocking the educational Web sites. And in a very heartening move, all of the other school districts using the same filtering software appear to have changed their blocking practices as well.

Some of the press coverage of the settlement quotes a school official as saying that "the lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice meaning it can never be brought again. It's over." That's not the case. The court's order specifically provides that, if the schools violate the agreement and start blocking the websites again without adequate justification, the court will take up the case again. The settlement also obligates the school districts to inform the ACLU of Tennessee if it starting blocking the websites. The ACLU intends to make sure that the schools do not resume their unconstitutional filtering practice.

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t

"Blocking access to just one side of a debate is called viewpoint discrimination – the government cannot favor one side of the debate over another – and it violates the Constitution. "

Please advise specifically the text of constitution which prohibits viwewpoint discrimination. Post reply. Thank you.

Liberal Hater

Being from Tennessee I am disappointed to see these school give into the terrorist group known as the American CRIMINAL Liberties Union.
Unless you pander to fags and dykes then they threaten to steal(sue) your money by shopping their liberal claim to a liberal sodomite in a black robe.

Let's see if the defenders of the 1st amendment allow this message to be posted. Probably not.

Gary Lovegren

I am not a church going christian or any other religion, however what I just saw on Huckabeereally says it all about you people.

Paen

Good work A.C.L.U. once again you have struck a blow against thought cintrol.

Jim

One has to wonder just what is behind the ACLU. On one hand the ACLU has done good things on behalf of those that have been wronged. On the other hand the organization seems as though it is anti-religious. In other words it seems as if Satan is in charge and decides what the organization is going to do. You have lost my support and many of my friends due to your anti-religious attitude. Saying grace over a meal and you think that is wrong? Boy are you stupid!

Mitzi Appleby

You are pigs who are violating the first amendment rights of this teacher and principal in Florida.. We Americans will rise up against you just like we did with Obama and his cronies.. You will not get away with this, destroying innocent lives, you are the ones that need to be shut down and thrown in prison and have the keys thrown away.

roald

t, check out http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/about.aspx?item=glossary
and its cite of the 2003 case of Virginia v Black
http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_01_1107

on viewpoint discrimination.

Jim, the ACLU is not anti-religious. It is anti-"my religion is the only true religion and everyone will have to follow its rules". I hope that you can appreciate the difference.

Mitzi, when did prohibiting someone from gaining access to information become "violating the first amendment rights of this teacher and principal"?

Paen

The bigots may wave their Bibles all they want but bigotry we always be evil.
Btw Mitzi the first amendment does not give anyone the right to promote ignorance.

Boyd

It's funny, here you are congratulating yourself for protecting free speech, but an ACLU lawsuit against Pace High School in Santa Rosa County, Fl, has resulted in a teenage girl NOT being allowed to speak at her graduation because she might thank God for helping her get this far. SO MUCH FOR FREE SPEECH!

I guess it is only Free Speech worth protecting when it agrees with the ACLU agenda.

Maggie says:

If I understand this correctly, the ACLU supports freedom of speech. This is encouraging. It is, after all, one of our constitutional rights. The ACLU also claims to support religious beliefs. Interesting. It would seem that the ACLU's support of religious beliefs pertains only to those who believe that religion has no place on this earth. As one who is constitutionally free to state what I believe without ramification, I would suggest that a Higher Power is responsible for the existence of each and every living thing on this earth. Our forefathers who founded this "land of the FREE" seemed to think so, too. Those who don't believe this are perfectly free to express their opinions, as they have for centuries. Why, then, is it becoming more and more difficult for the "believers" to express their opinions and practice their faith as they please? No one is forcing anyone to believe a certain way - it is a choice. For example, if a school board wishes to allow prayer in their schools, that is their right. If a certain student does not believe in prayer, that student can be silent or leave the classroom. Very simple.
I am married to an atheist. I am a Catholic. If my husband were the ACLU, I would be in prison right now. You scoff, but that is precisely what you are doing - attacking individual religious beliefs because they offend people who disagree with them. What part of FREEDOM don't you people understand???
I am getting the impression that you will go against the majority and the established rights under our constitution in favor of anyone or anything that opposes them. Tell me, are you planning to redesign the American flag to include a sickle and hammer? Sorry, I hope that remark didn't offend anyone. May God bless all of you - yes, ALL of you, and if that offends you, TOO BAD!!!!!!!!

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