Equal rights groups file lawsuit challenging ban on LGBTQ education in S.C. public schools

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Wednesday, equal rights advocates filed a lawsuit challenging the lack of same sex education in S.C. public school health classes.

Gender and Sexuality Alliance v. Spearman was filed on behalf of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, the S.C. Equality Coalition, and the Campaign for Southern Equality.

According to the plaintiffs, a 1988 S.C. “statute that prohibits the discussion of same sex relationships, except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases” violates the Equal Protection Act.

The lawsuit alleges that the statute “singles out LGBTQ students for negative treatment,” and has no comparable restrictions on heterosexual health education.

According to a 2017 National School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN, 90% of LGBTQ middle and high school students in S.C. schools reported regularly hearing homophobic remarks, 76% reported experiencing verbal harassment, 34% experienced physical harassment, and 14% were physically assaulted due to their sexual orientation.

The S.C. Attorney General issued an opinion supporting the lawsuit, saying that “a court would likely find the [statute] unconstitutional.”

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