February 21, 2016 at 9:19 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Liberty Counsel lawsuit against Va. school district dismissed

same-sex marriage, gay news, Washington Blade

A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge on Feb. 19, 2016, dismissed a lawsuit against the Fairfax County School District over its inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in its nondiscrimination policy.

A Virginia judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against the Fairfax County School District’s nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

FCPS Pride, a group that represents LGBT employees of the Fairfax County School District, welcomed the decision from the Fairfax County Circuit Court.

“Our nondiscrimination policies are safe,” wrote FCPS Pride on its Facebook page.

The Liberty Counsel in December filed a lawsuit against the policy on behalf of Traditional Values Coalition President Andrea Lafferty and an unnamed minor. His parents and two of their friends are also named in the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that members of the Fairfax County School Board violated Virginia law when they added sexual orientation and gender identity to the district’s nondiscrimination policy in November 2014 and May 2015.

The Liberty Counsel on Friday said it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring last March said state law allows local school boards to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies. The opinion overturned then-Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s 2012 position that said officials cannot add such provisions, unless the General Assembly was to pass a law allowing them to do so.

The Virginia House of Delegates General Laws Committee earlier this month killed state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County)’s bill that would have prevented municipalities from enacting measures against anti-LGBT discrimination.

“Civil rights are coded in Virginia law,” said Liberty Counsel Chair Mat Staver on Friday. “In changing the nondiscrimination laws, the school board acted recklessly and unlawfully.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

  • lnm3921

    They should clarify their title and insert “Religious” liberty with the addition of “to bash GLBT Americans” council as they are not fighting for liberty! They are only fighting for their agenda!

    So one AG says schools can add such language to their anti-discrimination policy while another has said otherwise. This is no more helpful than executive orders that can change from one administration to another. You stand on quick sand not terra firma. This is why I never feel we have any real sense of security from either.

    Let’s stop relying on Band-aids to back up our legal rights rather than an explicit laws and highest court ruling that gives us lasting peace of mind!

    • Craig Howell

      Courts are not controlled by opinions of the state AG. This judge dismissed the complaint because of a lack of standing by the plaintiffs.

      • lnm3921

        I didn’t say courts were controlled by AG opinions. AGs do hold sway in states, or the federal level, however, when they are asked by say the Governor of a state or POTUS, to enforce or ignore a law based on their interpretation of it.

        Obama and Eric Holder for example felt that DOMA was unconstitutional hence they would not enforce it any longer prrior to a SCOTUS ruling on it.

        On the other hand Ken Cuccinelli, former AG of Virginia said that state universities could not ban glbt discrimination as part of their policies because state and federal law did not ban such discrimination.

  • YakHerder

    Was there a written decision? If so, can you post it?

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