SALT LAKE CITY — State attorneys have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Utah State Board of Education and three school districts of enacting "anti-gay school laws" targeting LGBT students.
The Utah Attorney General's Office argues the plaintiffs lack standing and that under state law, the board can't be sued. The board and the Cache, Jordan and Weber school districts are entitled to qualified immunity and to the extent their acts were legislative in nature, are entitled to absolute immunity, according to a 27-page response filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday.
The statutes or rules challenged in the lawsuit don't contain the phrase "anti-gay laws," state attorneys wrote.
The lawsuit outlines the experiences of three students identified as John, Jane and James Doe and claims the board's policies regarding homosexuality and LGBT student organizations violate constitutional rights of equal protection and free speech, as well as Title IX protections.
The effect is an environment that chills would-be supportive teachers, creates an unaccepting climate for LGBT teachers, and leaves isolated LGBT students vulnerable to bullying and unable to fully participate in school activities, according to the lawsuit
The lawsuit is the first in the U.S. to challenge alleged anti-gay school policies, according to the advocacy group Equality Utah, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the global Ropes & Gray LLP law firm.