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Federal courts protect Maple Grove GSA

OutFront Minnesota praises the decisions of two federal courts ordering Maple Grove High School to provide equal access to a gay-straight alliance, Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE).

“These rulings represent a strong victory for students in Minnesota who wish to form gay-straight alliances,” said Phil Duran, OutFront Minnesota staff attorney. “It affirms that federal law protects student groups’ access to critical support services, such as a school’s public address system, bulletin boards, and meeting spaces. It’s an affirmation that gay-straight alliances have the right to publicize their activities in the same ways as other student organizations.”

In 2008. a federal appeals court affirmed a lower court's decision to issue a permanent injunction against the Osseo Area School District in the case, supporting the students' right to publicize their group on par with other school groups.

Gay-straight alliances have grown in prominence in Minnesota over the last 20 years, and represent opportunities for students to address issues of concern, such as anti-GLBT harassment or violence, and to teach other students about GLBT-related topics.

Students associated with SAGE approached OutFront Minnesota in 2003 to discuss the situation and assess their options. OutFront Minnesota connected the students with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, a strong ally in the pursuit of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) equality. The ACLU-MN worked with the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi to secure the positive court decisions.