Student Sues to Wear 'Jesus No Homophobe' Shirt

Lambda argues Maverick Couch, 16, has constitutional shirt rights
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2012 12:03 AM CDT
Updated Apr 4, 2012 2:07 AM CDT
Student Sues to Wear 'Jesus No Homophobe' Shirt
The shirt in question.   (AP Photo/Lambda Legal)

A gay student is suing his Ohio high school for the right to wear a T-shirt saying "Jesus is not a homophobe." The Lambda legal organization filed the suit on behalf of Maverick Couch, 16, arguing the ban on the shirt violates his right to free speech, and flies in the face of "well settled legal precedent," according to a Lambda statement. School officials told Couch the message was "sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate," according to court documents.

“I don’t think the shirt is sexual at all. I don’t know how they can say that,” Couch told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t think it’s indecent.” Couch has been the target of teasing and name-calling, and wanted to wear the shirt to show support for other gay students who have been victims of more serious bullying. The superintendent of the school district northeast of Cincinnati said the lawsuit "really caught us off guard." He didn't comment on the merits of the case but added: “We’re in the business of education, and our main concern is maintaining an environment that is conducive to education." (More homosexual stories.)

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