Civil Rights Groups Sue Blue State To Block Parental Rights Law From Taking Effect

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Washington state on Thursday in an attempt to block a law that would require parents to be notified if their child receives any medical services.

The Washington state legislature passed Initiative 2081 in March, which mandates that parents be informed “when medical services are being offered to their child” or if any curriculum includes questions regarding “the child’s sexual experiences or attractions.” The ACLU of Washington, alongside Legal Voice, and QLaw, argue that the groups behind the legislation “misled state lawmakers and the public” and that the law “will result in harm to LGBTQ+ students, youth of color, and students from other marginalized backgrounds,” according to the press release.

“Article II, Section 37 of the Washington Constitution is designed to ensure a proposed law’s full intent and impact on current law is clear, but I-2081 has only caused confusion,” Adrien Leavitt, staff attorney for the ACLU of Washington, said in the press release. “The initiative passed because of deception and confusion, and it will cause life-altering negative outcomes for queer and trans students if it is implemented.”

“Initiative 2081 is a forced outing law that will harm LGBTQ+ students if implemented in our schools,” Denise Diskin, attorney for QLaw Foundation, noted in the press release. “LGBTQ+ students seek out safe and trusted school staff when they don’t have a supportive home, and the affirmation they receive can be life-saving. I-2081 undercuts this and other vital resources at a time when youth need support the most.”

Democrat and Republican lawmakers, however, argued that the bill helps give parents a more clear idea of how the law protects their rights, according to The Spokesman-Review. Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh said that parents are often at a loss as to how to get involved with their kids in school due to “clouded” public policy and Democratic state Sen. Lisa Wellman said the initiative will help “clarify” parent’s rights in education.

“This initiative seeks to clarify all these rights and inform parents in plain and straightforward terms what they can expect to know about their children while they’re in school,” Wellman said.

Democratic lawmakers in California proposed reworking a bill Wednesday that would prohibit school districts from adopting policies that would require educators to inform parents if their child wants to transition. Parental rights advocates criticized the measure, saying that it would effectively “force schools to keep secrets from parents.”


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