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Ohio school district sued for banning 'Jesus Is Not a Homophobe' T-shirt

An openly gay high school student, who is prohibited from wearing a shirt that states "Jesus is not a homophobe," is suing the school. Karin Johnson reports.

An Ohio high school student says school officials are violating his freedom of expression because they won’t let him wear a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe.”

The shirt, high school student Maverick Couch told the Cincinnati Enquirer, is designed to show support for the "Day of Silence," on April 20, a national event that puts a spotlight on how bullying keeps gay and lesbian students from speaking out.

Couch’s mother filed a lawsuit against the Wayne Local Schools District in federal court on behalf of her 16-year-old son on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

The lawsuit says Couch was threatened with suspension if he wears the shirt, which is emblazoned with a colorful logo of a fish traditionally used as a Christian symbol, as well as the slogan in large bold text. The suit asks that Couch be allowed to wear the shirt and receive unspecified damages.

Maverick Couch told the Enquirer that school officials said the shirt was “indecent and sexual in nature.”

Christopher Clark, Couch’s attorney, said the family for months tried to settle the dispute but school officials would not change their minds.

"I do think what the school is doing is bullying," Clark told the Enquirer. "They’re trying to shame him into not wearing this shirt.”

Wayne Local Schools Superintendent Patrick Dubbs told msnbc.com that the district has not yet reviewed the contents of the federal lawsuit and thus cannot comment at this time.

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