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South Carolina students sue state over anti-LGBTQ sex education legislation
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South Carolina students sue state over anti-LGBTQ sex education legislation

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance, the Campaign for Southern Equality and the South Carolina Equality Coalition, Inc. filed a lawsuit Wednesday for injunctive and declaratory relief against South Carolina over an anti-LGBTQ sex education state statute.

The law in question “provides that local public school districts may not include in their health education any ‘discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.”

The plaintiffs claim the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by “singling out non-heterosexual students as a class … for negative treatment based on their sexual orientation, by preventing any health education about their relationships except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases. The law does not impose any comparable restriction on health education about heterosexual people.”

The lawsuit also cites surveys that indicate “nearly 90% of LGBTQ students surveyed in South Carolina regularly hear[] homophobic remarks from students, and 76% experience[] verbal harassment in the past year due to their sexual orientation.” The suit claims that this legislation contributes to “irreparable harm” suffered by LGBTQ students.