ACLU Responds to Student Protests Against Kentucky Gay-Straight Alliance

Affiliate: ACLU of Kentucky
November 7, 2002 12:00 am

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ACLU of Kentucky
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Joint Statement of Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, and Jeff Vessels, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kentucky


NEW YORK – Last week, officials at Boyd County High School in Ashland, Kentucky granted a seven-month-old request by students to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club at the school after the national American Civil Liberties Union and its Kentucky affiliate sent a letter explaining the school’s legal obligation under the federal Equal Access Act to let the club form.

On Monday nearly half of the school’s 990 students stayed home from classes for one day to protest the school’s decision. Local ministers are also planning a protest rally for this Sunday. If Boyd County High School needed any more proof that its students need a safe space to be themselves and talk about sexual orientation issues, the hostility and fear behind these actions have made it abundantly clear.

The ACLU supports the First Amendment right of community members to peacefully voice their opinions. The ACLU also supports the constitutional right of the Gay-Straight Alliance to exist. The school has done the right thing by allowing it to do so. The people of Boyd County and across America need to know that the rights of students everywhere to form alliances in their schools is a part of our cultural heritage of freedom and diversity.

Students who are working to form Gay-Straight Alliances in their schools can contact the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project at the national ACLU office by phone at 212-549-2673 or by email at or their local ACLU affiliate if they need help.

For more information on how lesbian and gay students are overcoming harassment and abuse in their schools, go to /LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRightslist.cfm?c=106

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