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Gay school club refuses offer to change name, end lawsuit

BY RACHEL SIMMONSEN, The Palm Beach Post

A lawsuit over the Gay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee High School could be settled if students agreed to change the name of the club, according to lawyers for the Okeechobee County School Board.

But a lawyer for the ACLU, which represents the club, said its members already have rejected the idea of changing the name.

"The students have made clear that the name of the club is important to them because it describes their mission," said Robert Rosenwald, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. "From the beginning, the purpose of this club has been to prevent harassment and discrimination against gay students."

The club and its founder, Okeechobee High School graduate Yasmin Gonzalez, sued the school board last year, arguing it violated federal law by not allowing the Gay-Straight Alliance to meet on school grounds.

Attorneys for the school board have argued that the Gay-Straight Alliance is a "sex-based club" that violates a Florida statute requiring schools to teach abstinence "while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage."

A judge has said the club can meet on campus while the case works its way through court.

The trial is scheduled to start in March, though Rosenwald has asked that it be pushed back until September, because the defendants won't share the names of their expert witnesses.

In a court filing Wednesday, David Gibbs, an attorney for the school board, argued against the requested delay, saying the ACLU has had "ample time" to prepare its case. The school board has refrained from "premature disclosure" of its experts "in order to avoid unnecessary media exposure and harassment," Gibbs said in the filing.

Gibbs also said that pushing back the start of the trial would delay a "timely settlement" that could "be accomplished by changing the name of the club."

According to his filing, one of the club's members has suggested changing the club's name to ADAPT, short for Accepting Diversity And Promoting Tolerance. However, after talking to Rosenwald, the student said the name couldn't be changed until after the lawsuit is settled, Gibbs said in the filing.

Rosenwald called Gibbs' statement "plainly inaccurate," saying it's school officials, not students pushing for a name change.

Gibbs could not be reached immediately for comment.

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The same people who gave us slavery, didn't want to let women vote, outlawed inter-racial marriage until the federal govt made it legal nationwide, are the people who now have a new group of victims on which to spill their religious hatred, little different then that which gave us 9/11.

We, as 40 year married adults, have a number of gay friends. We love them dearly. Two of the three males told us how they were suicidal in their youth, one only a trigger finger away from having his father find him with his head blown apart from a high power pistol. Another almost destroyed his life with drugs and alcohol, until his fraternity brothers at college helped him. He was terrified of the brothers finding out he was gay. But in a surprise to him, they accepted him when he came out, it just didn't matter, and this was in a southern VA college where one would have expected the bible thumpers to rule.

As someone said not long ago, religion does great things for good people, but is used for terrible things by bad people. And it is obvious that this nation has more then its share of bad people, who make a complete mockery of the meaning of Jesus' life on earth and the Bible, both of which are a call for social justice for all of those 'made in His Image'.

Shame, shame, shame on the school board for their ignorant and hateful actions. Their only goal is to prevent more kids from discovering that gay kids are good kids also, and putting the lie to certain churches homophobia that poisons our society.

The same people who gave us slavery, didn't want to let women vote, outlawed inter-racial marriage until the federal govt made it legal nationwide, are the people who now have a new group of victims on which to spill their religious hatred, little different then that which gave us 9/11.

We, as 40 year married adults, have a number of gay friends. We love them dearly. Two of the three males told us how they were suicidal in their youth, one only a trigger finger away from having his father find him with his head blown apart from a high power pistol. Another almost destroyed his life with drugs and alcohol, until his fraternity brothers at college helped him. He was terrified of the brothers finding out he was gay. But in a surprise to him, they accepted him when he came out, it just didn't matter, and this was in a southern VA college where one would have expected the bible thumpers to rule.

As someone said not long ago, religion does great things for good people, but is used for terrible things by bad people. And it is obvious that this nation has more then its share of bad people, who make a complete mockery of the meaning of Jesus' life on earth and the Bible, both of which are a call for social justice for all of those 'made in His Image'.

Shame, shame, shame on the school board for their ignorant and hateful actions. Their only goal is to prevent more kids from discovering that gay kids are good kids also, and putting the lie to certain churches homophobia that poisons our society.

Being someone who supported the Gay-Straight Alliance when I was in school, this makes me beyond angry at what the school is trying to do.

"Attorneys for the school board have argued that the Gay-Straight Alliance is a "sex-based club" that violates a Florida statute requiring schools to teach abstinence "while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.""

My school never taught abstinence only sex-education. I lived in Mass. at the time. The reason why my school rejected it was because the statistics show that the average teenager does not take it seriously in this day and age. When the sex-ed teacher even suggested abstinence the reaction was similar to that of someone cracking a horrible joke. You had kids snickering and whispering "Is she really serious?" from their seats. Half of them already had been having sex and doing so more responsibly due to the sex-ed classes available teaching about contraceptives and STDs.
And the "benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage?" I believe what the school is trying to say in a more politically correct way is that they have no intention of teaching the "benefits of monogamous homosexual marriage/union" because they don't believe that it is "beneficial". Yet there is no statistics, no proof, that a heterosexual marriage is better OR worse than one of a homosexual nature in any way, shape, or form. Any statistics that are available either are biased due to the faith of the researchers or points to the conclusion that it doesn't matter as to sexual preference, you children are going to grow up the same, and the likelihood of you staying with your partner is exactly the same.

Although I respect the right for individuals to practice their beliefs, I do not respect people who take it too far by pushing that belief in schools. A monogamous heterosexual marriage is rare in this day and age of 50% divorce rates, unmarried couples, homosexual tolerance (gradually beginning to me the norm, thankfully), and single parents. Do they happen? Yes. But to claim that it is the normal, the "right" way to live one's life is a complete lie. It may be a religious/societal goal to achieve should one personally believe that it is the best way to go about sex and relationships, but that is in no way saying that it is the only acceptable way to live. What this school is doing is saying that there is no tolerance for such a group there that does not fit into that category.
That's more immoral in my eyes than anything else.

This what I have to say

Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.


That settles it no devil in this world can change the word of God and by this EVER HOMOSEXUEL WILL BE JUDGED! therefore Repent of your Evil Ways.

It is very evident that Okeechobee High School, The School Board as well as our goverment, president and all our other SO called good leaders need alot of help.If the goverment can take prayer out of school as well as anything to do with God then why is it that its okay for a bunch of GAY'S to have their sick little club? Have you ever thought that its our right as christians to defend and fight for what we believe. Maybe if the christians would stand up and fight against the Goverment and whoever else it takes to make a change. Thats what is wrong with this so called USA home of the free. People are to worried about fighting for their right to be gay then fighting for something thats going to change the world. Our country has gone to crap in a hand basket and its because of what our goverment and everyone else is fighting for. All this makes me sick

All I have to say is Okeechobee High School School Board has made me sick as well as the lawyers and jusges who supports this club. Thats whats wrong with this world today people are fighting for the wrong thing. I have 4 kids as well as ALOT of friends that have kids fixing to start high school at OHS. But after seeing all this sick stuff that the school and Okeechobee county is allowing to go on our kids will not be going there. OHS is standing and allowing something to go on that many americans are against. Its just as much our right as it is the Gays to voice what we want. If they are being offended how do you think it makes everyone else feel who dont wnat to walk down the hall and see 2 men kissing and rubbing up on eachother as well as women. The wrath of God is getting ready to pour out on this sinful country!!!!! Christians help us take a stand and fight for our rights as parents and just good americans that are against this fight for the future of our kids.

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