High school student, ACLU beat school censorship over ‘marriage is so gay’ t-shirt

Kate Cohn

Kate Cohn

Kate Cohn

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado high school has reversed its decision banning students from wearing “marriage is so gay” t-shirts. The school recently banned the pro-gay marriage shirts, but allowed anti-abortion shirts.

On Nov. 2, Falcon High Senior Kate Cohn wore the popular t-shirt in support of friends and family members who are LGBT. The shirt caused no disruption in her classes, but when the school principal saw it he demanded that she change immediately.

In the days that followed, Principal Mark Carara and district officials defended their decision by comparing the shirt to supporting drug or alcohol use. Days later, school officials allowed a group of students to wear anti-abortion t-shirts, without incident.

The ACLU of Colorado sent a letter to school administrators Monday demanding that they rescind their ban, threatening a lawsuit if they failed to reverse their decision — 81 students at the school also signed a petition demanding justice for Cohn.

Thanks to the miracle of Facebook, PRIDEinUtah was able to speak to Cohn on Tuesday and ask her how she felt about the whole ordeal.

“I’m SOO HAPPY,” said Kate, which seems to sum up her attitude pretty definitively.

PRIDEinUtah: Did you expect the administration would react the way they did when they saw your shirt?

Kate Cohn: I expected it only because there is such a homophobic atmosphere in Colorado Springs.

PRIDEinUtah: What made you want to contact the ACLU?

Kate: The ACLU contacted me actually because they saw my story and I had wanted to but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. My rights were undermined and The ACLU is all about changing that.

PRIDEinUtah: What has it been like at school since this started? What feedback (positive/negative) have you gotten?

Kate: For the first week or so I got only positive feedback and full support from students (I got ignored by all administration who usually love me) starting last week i got some negative feedback such as “you took this all too far” and “Gay people don’t like when people do this” and today in the hall someone walked past and yelled at me “I hate gay people” which was all expected but a little upsetting none-the-less.

PRIDEinUtah: How do you feel about the school giving in to the ACLU?

Kate: I am so happy that the ACLU was able to show the school their wrong doings and I along with other students have the right to express ourselves.

PRIDEinUtah: Is this the last we’ll hear of you? Or do you plan to continue your activist work?

Kate: I will always continue my activist work everywhere and anywhere I am needed. Though it is doubtful that anything will come up within the school for the rest of this year (as I am a senior and will be graduating soon) but I will not stop here in acheiving the rights of everyone. SO yes, you will probably hear more from me :)

PRIDEinUtah: Anything else you want mentioned?

Kate: I want to thank everyone across the nation (and even the world) for supporting me through this. It is truly a battle that has been and will be fought for years to come, but in the end it will all be worth our PEACEFUL efforts.

A copy of the ACLU letter is here (PDF).

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