Today, Lambda Legal filed papers in a federal lawsuit against Waynesville High School in Waynesville, OH, after administrators threatened to suspend a student if he wore a tee shirt with the slogan “Jesus is Not A Homophobe.”
Maverick Couch, an openly gay junior at the school, first wore the shirt last spring in honor of National Day of Silence, when principal Randy Gebhardt told him to turn the shirt inside out (which Couch did). But after researching his First Amendment rights, Couch came back to Gebhardt in the fall and asked if he could wear the tee again. Gebhardt restated that he would be suspended if he did.
Lambda Legal is totally calling shenanigans on Gebhardt’s threat, especially considering the slogan is pretty pro-Christian:
“Schools should be in the business of educating students about First Amendment freedoms, not trampling on their right to express themselves,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “The school has not offered—and cannot offer—any legitimate reason for threatening Maverick with disciplinary action. They have singled-out an intelligent, respectful student and tried to shame him just because he’s gay.”
The nonprofit sent Waynesville High a letter explaining Couch’s legal rights, but the district responded by saying “the message communicated by the student’s T-shirt is sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.”
You just know if Couch wore a shirt saying “I’m saving myself for marriage,” his school would have given him a friggin’ medal.