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A pro-gay-marriage slogan on a T-shirt worn by a student at Falcon High School in Colorado Springs is the latest flashpoint in the war over gay rights and a challenge to evangelical beliefs that gay marriage leads to the eternal damnation of one’s soul. The controversy began on Election Day, when senior Kate Cohn wore a T-shirt reading “Marriage Is So Gay” to school. Principal Mark Carara asked her to change, deeming the shirt a violation of the dress code, which bans potentially disruptive clothing, writes 7News. Carara then told the girl’s parents the T-shirt was comparable to clothing that promotes drug or alcohol use.
Two weeks ago, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado intervened, calling the ban a crackdown on freedom of speech. “Falcon High School administrators are censoring Kate Cohn’s message of equality simply because they did not like what she has to say,” says ACLU attorney Rebecca T. Wallace, adding there was no evidence the shirt would cause a disruption. While the T-shirt didn’t cause much disturbance, the ban has, according to The Denver Post, prompting around 1,300 students to place sticky notes over their hearts that read, “I support Kate Cohn” or “I do not support gay marriage, but I support Kate Cohn.”
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Now, the school district has lifted the ban, although Carara has not returned the Post’s calls for comment. As for Cohn: “I’m glad I stood up for my rights,” she says. “My mother told me, ‘This is a big moment in your life.'”