Gay students win fight for club at Ocala school

High school

OCALA, Fla. - A consent decree will allow the formation of a club designed to promote understanding among gay and straight students at an Ocala high school.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard on Tuesday in Jacksonville signed the decree and an order requiring Marion County school officials to permit the Gay-Straight Alliance at Vanguard High School.

The decree settles a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union filed on behalf of the alliance after the school's principal and School Superintendent Jim Yancey prohibited formation of the club.

The ACLU accused the officials of violating the federal Equal Access Act and freedom of association rights under the First Amendment.

It's the third such case the ACLU has won in Florida on behalf of the Gay-Straight Alliance. The others were in Okeechobee and Nassau counties.