Utah close to settling lawsuit over homosexuality in schools

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah is close to settling a lawsuit filed by gay rights groups over a law that forbade anything construed as “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.

In a court filing obtained by FOX 13 on Saturday, attorneys for Equality Utah, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Utah Attorney General’s Office asked a judge to stay all proceedings in the lawsuit against the state school board, Utah State Schools Superintendent Sydnee Dickson and the Cache, Weber and Jordan school districts.

The LGBTQ rights groups said they had met with lawyers for the state and a federal magistrate judge to hammer out an agreement.

“During that conference, and in subsequent weeks, the parties made substantial progress in negotiating a settlement of all claims in this case,” the attorneys wrote.

Earlier this week, they came to an agreement in principle on claims leveled by a 7-year-old gender nonconforming child in the Weber School District. In the lawsuit, the child claimed he was subject to harassment and abuse for sometimes wearing girl’s clothing, but school officials did nothing to investigate or stop it.

“As for the remaining claims in Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint, negotiations continue to progress,” the filing states.

Last year, the lawsuit was filed against the state on behalf of three children in Utah schools alleging the law — nicknamed “No Promo Homo” by gay rights activists — subjected LGBTQ kids to bullying and intimidation in schools and silenced any discussion on homosexuality, including same-sex marriage.

In response to the lawsuit, the Utah State Legislature repealed the law earlier this year. The Utah State School Board also voted unanimously to repeal it. Under the new law, school health curriculum still teaches abstinence outside of marriage but is silent on whether that union is same or opposite gender.