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Gay Rights Groups Sue State Over "No Promo Homo" Law

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Whittney Evans
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Equality Utah Executive Troy Williams joins Tyler Glenn, Gloria Steinem and other guests on stage at the 15th annual Allies Dinner.

LGBT rights groups are suing the Utah School Board over the state’s so-called “No Promo Homo” law. It restricts teachers and students from talking about gay and transgender issues in school.

Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed the lawsuit in federal court on Friday. It was filed on behalf of three public school students in Utah. The lawsuit is the first of its kind in the nation. It asks a judge to throw out the law because it violates 1st amendment rights to free speech and 14th amendment rights to equal protection under the law. Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams announced the lawsuit on Friday during the organization’s 15th annual Allies Dinner.

“We are confident that we are going to be able to effectively bring this lawsuit, bring an end to no promo homo and tell LGBT children they have value, they have worth and there’s a positive future for them to inherit,” Williams said during an interview after the event.

University of Utah law professor Cliff Rosky said the No Promo Homo law has resulted in schools being unable to protect children from bullies.

“LGBT kids are often victimized by bullies,” Rosky said. “And schools feel like they’re unable to talk about who these kids are and therefore it’s difficult to protect them.”

Utah Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser was at Friday’s event. He said he’d just heard about the lawsuit and wasn’t ready to comment. 

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