T-shirt case decided: “Be happy, not gay” allowed in school

We may see more of these t-shirts around on Monday since the

7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals instructed the district court to order the Neuqua Valley High School to suspend its ban on the “Be Happy, Not Gay” T-shirt while a civil rights lawsuit in the case proceeds.

Given the ingenuity of adolescents, we will see this envelope pushed further and further (“Be smart, not Christian” is sure to come).

I have seen this issue less of a free-speech matter (you can go outside and say, “Be happy, not gay” and no one will arrest you), but how much school administrators can limit speech in the service of school order. I have not seen this as a religious free speech issue since there is nothing inherently religious about that t-shirt. I think schools will have more of these kind of issues to adjudicate and some may just throw up their hands and let anything in. Some will perhaps let nothing in. I don’t know but as much as I am a defender of free speech and religious liberty, I am not happy about this outcome. I figured the court might decide that the boy had a right to wear the shirt, but I do not believe it would be right to wear it.

I think our Golden Rulers should keep passing out the cards on Monday.