Thursday, February 5, 2009

Court: Private Schools Can Expel LGBT Students

LOS ANGELES, California (Observer Update) - A California appeals court ruled that a Lutheran school did not violate the state antidiscrimination law by expelling two 16-year-old students for forming an intimate bond "characteristic of a Lesbian relationship."

Jane Doe and Mary Roe, as the now-college students are identified in the case, will appeal their case to the California supreme court, their attorney Kirk Hanson told the Los Angeles Times. In 2005 they were expelled from California Lutheran High School in Wildomar after another student told a teacher that Doe and Roe loved each other. The student advised the teacher to look at both students' MySpace pages, where one identified herself as Bisexual and the other said she was "not sure" about her sexual orientation.

When principal Gregory Bork questioned the girls, they admitted to hugging and kissing each other and telling other students they were Lesbians, but they told him they really only loved each other as friends. The school's policy is to refuse admission to Gay and Lesbian students, according to court documents. Bork suspended them that day and then expelled them a month later. Roe and Doe have not disclosed their sexual orientation within the realm of the case, reported.

The court cited a 1998 case with the Boy Scouts of America, which was a social organization and not a business, and therefore it did not have to comply with laws that prohibit discrimination. "The school's religious message is inextricably intertwined with its secular functions," wrote Justice Betty A. Richli for the appeals court. "The whole purpose of sending one's child to a religious school is to ensure that he or she learns even secular subjects within a religious framework."

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