When Elizabeth Hansen asked Ann Arbor, Michigan's Pioneer High School administrator if her views could be included in the school's Diversity Week forum on "Homosexuality and Religion," school officials said "no" because she wanted to include a "negative" message based on her Roman Catholic faith.
The forum included "two Episcopalian ministers, a Presbyterian minister, a Presbyterian deacon, a rabbi and a pastor of the United Church of Christ," according to the Associated Press. The school's Gay/Straight alliance handpicked everyone on the forum, said the Detroit Free Press. "At one point, officials decided to cancel the panel discussion after one official said excluding an opposing viewpoint was illegal. But the Gay/Straight Alliance persuaded officials to relent and exclude anyone with an opposing point of view to sit on the panel."
Hansen was allowed to give a speech on "What Diversity Means to Me," but school officials eliminated one paragraph in which Hansen expressed her view that homosexuality was wrong. Hansen, who was a senior at the time, filed suit with the help of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, alleging the school acted to "prevent the expression of the traditional Christian view toward homosexuality at this panel discussion and throughout the '2002 Diversity Week' events," according to The Detroit News.
In court arguments, Pioneer High School attorney, Seth Lloyd, said the school "must be able to limit viewpoints in discussions. Otherwise, he said, a panel on job opportunities for women would have to include a religious conservative who could argue that women should stay home and rear children."
According to the Ann Arbor News, "The district's attorney argued that the speech was edited because the school ...1