Justice Dept Makes Rare Intervention in Gay Rights Bullying Case
NPR reports on the case of a gay Mohawk, NY teen and his father, who with the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the teen's high school after it refused to take action following repeated bullying from classmates. In "a novel interpretation of the Title IX statute, which prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of gender", the Obama administration has gotten involved:
Now the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has asked a judge for permission to intervene on Jacob's behalf.
"We haven't seen this kind of involvement in quite some time," says Hayley Gorenberg of Lambda Legal, a national gay rights legal organization. "It's a long time coming, and we really need it."
Republicans who worked in the Civil Rights Division under previous administrations agree that this is a case conservatives generally would not make.
The Justice Department's argument hinges on a broad reading of the law known as Title IX. Title IX is typically used to protect students from gender discrimination, but in this case, Obama administration lawyers argue that the law also covers discrimination based on gender stereotypes — that is to say, boys who are beaten up for being effeminate.
Gay and lesbian advocates hope the intervention will clarify some of the more gray areas with regard to gender expression and sexual orientation in Title IX.