Judge Rules in Favor of Student in Gay Freedom of Expression Case

United States District Court Richard Smoak ruled in favor of high school student Heather Gillman yesterday in a suit she and the ACLU brought against her school’s principal and the Holmes County School Board. Gillman claimed that her First Amendment rights were violated when the school forbid her from wearing clothing or displaying stickers supporting tolerance and fair treatment of LGBT people.

GillmanVia the ACLU: “During the trial, which was held in Panama City yesterday and today, Ponce de Leon High School’s principal David Davis admitted under oath that he had banned students from wearing any clothing or symbols supporting equal rights for gay people. Davis also testified that he believed rainbows were “sexually suggestive” and would make students unable to study because they’d be picturing gay sex acts in their mind. The principal went on to admit that while censoring rainbows and gay pride messages he allowed students to wear other symbols many find controversial, such as the Confederate flag.”

Said Gillman, who is not gay: “Standing up to my school was really hard to do, but I’m so happy that I did because the First Amendment is a big deal to everyone.”

Federal Judge Rules That Students Can’t Be Barred From Expressing Support for Gay People [aclu]
Gay Rights Case Over, Student Wins [wmbb – with video]


  1. Paul R says

    Wow, I’m glad that principal is involved in education. He sounds really bright and reasonable.

  2. Mike in the Tundra says

    “Davis also testified that he believed rainbows were “sexually suggestive” and would make students unable to study because they’d be picturing gay sex acts in their mind.”

    Well, I’m certain that there was one person in that school who did picture gay sex acts when he saw a rainbow. He did have to spend a lot of time in the principal’s office, when you consider that he worked there.

  3. the queen says

    i for one find the confederate flag quite sexually suggestive making me unable to do my housework because i’m picturing sex acts in my mind: me as scarlett o’hara in gone with the wind with my crinoline skirts raised up high and rhett butler plowing my big fat ass…

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    The young lady is courageous…glad the ACLU gets involved–even when they side with those we don’t agree with, they’re still an important watch dog in this country.

    THE QUEEN, glad to read you back here on Towleroad, but I don’t know nothin’ ’bout plowing up under no crinolines. And why Mister Rhett?…I can go get Big Sam to do that plowin’ for you, honey. You’ll never want Mister Rhett again ’cause you know, once you go black….

  5. Jon says

    How courageous and selfless…

    How do we offer our support and thanks to Heather Gillman? Does anyone know how to contact her?

  6. SONNIE says

    LOLOLOL,thanks Queen and Derick. You both really made my day. I’ll bet Mike is right too.

  7. tjc says

    Your Highness, I too admit to having impure thoughts put into my head upon seeing the confederate flag, but my thoughts involve Bo and Luke Duke and some beautiful skin-tight blue jeans.

  8. David D. says

    “Mandingo” was full of hot sexy Confederate flags. Not that I ever saw it. No sirree.

    Seriously–Confederate fucking flags? What the hell is Holmes County, America’s Brigadoon?

  9. anon says

    Owing to recent US supreme court rulings this may be overturned on appeal, though perhaps not if it goes through the state supreme court.

  10. Mike says

    My mother taught at Ponce de Leon High 30 years ago (Fortunately, we moved north to Connecticut when I entered high school). IT was as conservative & backwards as you probably are imagining.