School tries to censor 'Day of Silence' opposing viewpoint

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CHICAGO — The U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's ruling, April 23, that barred a student, Alex Nuxoll, from wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Be Happy, Not Gay" for the Day of Truth.

The lower court had agreed with district officials that barred Nuxoll from wearing the clothing on the grounds that it was insulting.

The Alliance Defense Fund representing Neuxoll, said that other students at the school are permitted to wear shirts with messages supporting homosexual behavior as part of the "Day of Silence," which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. The 7th Circuit ruling prevents school officials from singling out Nuxoll's message for censorship.

"It is highly speculative that allowing the plaintiff to wear a T-shirt that says 'Be Happy, Not Gay' would have even a slight tendency to provoke such incidents, or for that matter to poison the educational atmosphere," the court wrote.

The Alliance Defense Fund representing Neuxoll, said that Christian students shouldn't be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs.

"Public school officials cannot censor a message expressing one viewpoint on homosexual behavior and then at the same time allow messages that express another viewpoint.  The court's ruling is a victory for all students seeking to protect their First Amendment rights on a school campus," said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum.

In 1995 the inaugural Day of Truth was held. Sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Day of Truth was held on Monday, April 28 — and asks students to wear T-shirts and pass out cards which say, in part, "I'm speaking the Truth to break the silence." Supporters assert that the Christian viewpoint about homosexuality is itself in danger of being silenced in schools. One of GLSEN's main goals is to get homosexuality-friendly curriculum in classrooms. Its website sells resources for doing just that, including ideas and resources for kindergarten students.

"Christian students should be allowed to express their viewpoint like any other student," Day of Truth student spokesperson Marina Rojas said in a statement. "The Day of Truth is an opportunity for students to respectfully present a different viewpoint than students participating in the Day of Silence."