Those who have been reading this blog for a while may recall the story of bigot-in-training (actually, scratch the “in-training” bit) Tyler Chase Harper and the T-shirt he wore to Poway High School near San Diego. In 2004, Harper wore the shirt, which said “Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned” on the front and “Homosexuality Is Shameful” on the back, to protest the “Day of Silence”, a day in which students take a vow of silence to make a statement about tolerance of gays and lesbians.
The school principal told Harper he couldn’t wear the shirt to school, and the case was picked up by the conservative legal organization Alliance Defense Fund and has been climbing up through the court system ever since.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that a high school “can forbid a high school student from wearing a T-shirt that denigrates gay and lesbian students.”
In his ruling, 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote: “Public school students who may be injured by verbal assaults on the basis of a core identifying characteristic such as race, religion, or sexual orientation have a right to be free from such attacks while on school campuses. As Tinker clearly states, students have the right to ‘be secure and to be let alone.’…Being secure involves not only the freedom from physical assaults but from psychological attacks that cause young people to question their self-worth and their rightful place in society. The ‘right to be let alone’ has been recognized by the Supreme Court … as the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.”
The issue is expected to eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Court Rules Against Gay-Bashing T-Shirts [la times]
Fashion Statement [tr]