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ADF attorneys succeed on appeal; speech ban prohibited students from saying homosexual behavior is wrong

CINCINNATI — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund have succeeded in their appeal of a federal judge’s decision against a Boyd County, Ky., student.  A former school district policy prohibited the student from saying to other students that homosexual behavior is wrong.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Friday reversed a ruling in favor of the school district and sent the case back to trial.

“Christian students and other students who do not approve of homosexual behavior are not second class simply because of their perspective.  Silencing students because of their viewpoint is a clear violation of their constitutional rights,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster, representing student Timothy Morrison.  “This student’s free speech rights were certainly violated, and we’re pleased the case will proceed to trial.”

Oster explained that a requirement employed by Boyd County School District officials forced students to participate in homosexual “diversity training.”  A video accompanying the sessions instructed students to withhold Christian viewpoints about homosexual behavior.

“School officials were less than forthcoming regarding the options of parents who did not want their children to participate in the sessions,” said Oster.

The 6th Circuit wrote in its opinion, “Although a favorable decision cannot provide Morrison an opportunity to travel back in time and utter the speech he withheld, it can provide him with nominal damages.  Even though these damages amount to little, they serve to vindicate his rights.”

The full text of the 6th Circuit’s opinion in Morrison v. Board of Education of Boyd County can be read here.

ADF attorneys appealed the district court’s decision awarding summary judgment to the school district in March 2006.


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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