Our favorite loony state legislator, Utah Sen. Chris Buttars, has succeeded in passing a bill that would allow schools to ban GSA clubs from schools in that state. The bill would do two things. First, it would require that students get parental permission to participate in any student club; this is designed specifically to prevent those students who haven’t revealed their homosexuality to their parents from being able to find any support at all (because that’s just what Jesus would do, you know). Second, it would allow schools to ban those clubs it decides are immoral. Here’s the final text of the bill as passed. I’ll post the relevant portion below the fold.
(1) A school shall limit or deny authorization or school building use to a club or require changes prior to granting authorization or school building use:
(a) as the school determines it to be necessary to:
(i) protect the physical, emotional, psychological, or moral well-being of students and faculty;
(ii) maintain order and discipline on school premises;
(iii) prevent a material and substantial interference with the orderly conduct of a
school’s educational activities;
(iv) protect the rights of parents or guardians and students;
(v) maintain the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior; or
(vi) ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies; or
(b) whose proposed charter and proposed activities indicate students or advisors in club related activities would as a substantial, material, or significant part of their conduct or means of expression:
(i) encourage criminal or delinquent conduct;
(ii) promote bigotry;
(iii) involve human sexuality; or
(iv) involve any effort to engage in or conduct mental health therapy, counseling, or psychological services for which a license would be required under state law.
Of course, Buttars has been trying for years to find any way of getting Gay/Straight Alliance clubs out of schools in Utah. A suit will be filed immediately on this and it will likely be overturned. The Equal Access Act guarantees the right to form such clubs and it has been upheld by the courts many times.
Update: My only reader in Utah (presumably) informs me that the bill has not passed yet. Two different versions apparently passed the House and the Senate, but the House then voted to reconsider because they disagreed with the more restrictive Senate version. It’s now in conference committee trying to work out the differences. Stay tuned for updates.