South Carolina’s anti-LGBT public school curriculum law was declared unconstituitonal by the United States District Court on Wednesday in Charleston, S.C.
The law, which dates back to 1988, barred teachers from discussing LGBT relationships in a positive manner. Public health educators in South Carolina could only mention same-sex relationships in context to sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
“There's no comparable restriction in the law on health education about different sex relationships,” Julie Wilensky, a senior attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told NBC News. “After 32 years, students in South Carolina will no longer be harmed by this outdated law.”
The NCLR joined with Lambda Legal to file the lawsuit, Gender and Sexuality Alliance v. Spearman. The plaintiffs argued successfully that the outdated statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“I am very excited that this discriminatory law can no longer be enforced in South Carolina, and I hope we can continue to work toward a more accepting and equal state-wide community,” said Eli Bundy, a tenth grader who is the president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), an organization of high school students at a public magnet school in the Charleston County School District. “I know how frustrating it can feel to be told by a teacher that they can’t talk about who you are. I’m so grateful that no other South Carolina student will have to go through school feeling like they have been erased.”
U.S. District Court Judge David Norton’s consent degree orders the Superintendent of the South Carolina Public School System to issue a memorandum within 60 days to the state board of education and all school superintendents as well as local school board members, school administers and teachers that the anti-LGBT law will no longer be enforced.