The Column

Religious right drops case against No. MN school over gender inclusivity

The Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group behind a rash of anti-transgender lawsuits around the country, has dropped its suit against a Virginia, Minn., school district. In documents filed with the District Court of Minnesota, the legal outfit dismissed its own case.

The lawsuit began when Virginia Minnesota Public Schools (Independent School District Number 706) created an inclusive environment for a transgender student. A group of 10 parents complained, and when the school continued with the inclusive policy, the parents filed suit with the help of ADF (ADF was recently listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center). The group of parents call themselves “Privacy Matters.”

“We are proud of Jane and her family for standing up for her rights and those of other transgender students,” Teresa Nelson Interim Executive Director of the ACLU of Minnesota said in a statement. “We are glad that the plaintiffs have abandoned their attempts to force the school to violate her rights. We would also like to thank the Virginia School District for standing with Jane and treating her with dignity and respect.”

The reason why the ADF and Privacy Matters dropped their suit is unknown. Neither responded to inquiries about the lawsuit. The ACLU-MN’s Nelson told Metro Weekly that ADF and the parents dropped the suit could be because the original filing mischaracterized what was happening in the district, including the fact that student went out of her way to not invade other students’ privacy.

“The initial complaint implied that our client was almost stalking other students and entering facilities where they were trying to seek privacy, and that was just not the case. In her affidavit, she stated that she had no idea that she was in a location where they had been seeking privacy, and she had no intention of invading their privacy, so there really wasn’t a privacy claim for those students.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom has been very active in Minnesota over the last year. In addition to the lawsuit against the Virginia school district, ADF has also filed a suit against the State of Minnesota on behalf of a St. Cloud photographer who doesn’t want to photograph same-sex weddings. ADF also appeared before the Anoka-Hennepin School Board last month in an attempt to convince the board not to adopt transgender inclusive school policies.

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