"This is a groundbreaking, historic agreement that will be used as a model across the country to deal with these issues," says attorney Zachary Stephenson, who helped represent the students.

One of the conditions of the settlement is that Anoka-Hennepin is required to hire several consultants on sex discrimination and mental health. In the running for one of those positions is Jamie Nabozny, who has firsthand experience. Growing up in small-town Wisconsin, he was shoved into lockers, urinated on, and beaten so badly in a hallway that he had to have stomach surgery.

In 1996, Nabozny sued the school's administrators. His bully took the stand and testified that their principal knew about the violent abuse. The jury found that Nabozny deserved equal protection based on sexual orientation under the U.S. Constitution and awarded him almost $1 million.

Becky Collins (right) says her 15-year-old son Zach King (left) was attacked and beaten in a classroom because he is gay.
Courtesy of the ACLU
Becky Collins (right) says her 15-year-old son Zach King (left) was attacked and beaten in a classroom because he is gay.
The suicide of Tammy Aaberg's (right) son Justin inspired Sen. Al Franken (center) to pen the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act.
Courtesy of Tammy Aaberg
The suicide of Tammy Aaberg's (right) son Justin inspired Sen. Al Franken (center) to pen the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act.

"That hadn't been done before," says Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director at Lambda Legal, the firm that represented Nabozny. "And still we're lacking a federal law that is specific on protection for students on the basis of sexual orientation."

Nabozny realized how little had changed since his experience and started speaking in schools two years ago. He's since received apologies from former classmates and even the children of his bullies.

"A lot of people in the country don't care if gay people have the right to marry — they didn't think too much about LGBT rights," Nabozny says. "Then people saw kids were killing themselves and said, 'Wait a minute, this isn't okay.'"

On a recent evening, Nabozny looked skeptically at his reflection in a multi-faceted mirror. He was dressed in a sleek black tuxedo coat.

"Can't we just wear suits?" he begged.

"No," answered Bo Shafer, the man standing next to him wearing a matching ivory tuxedo coat.

In September, Nabozny and Shafer are getting married in front of 150 guests, despite the fact that the nuptials will not be legally binding.

"We still have people who are very intolerant out there — they're fighting our right to be with who we want to be with, and love who we want to love," Nabozny explains. "The marriage debate is much more heated and controversial. Protecting kids in school is not."

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7 comments
smash44
smash44

Oh shut up already with the Romney thing; at least he has some guts, unlike the coward that you white retards elected in 2008.

Tubbsdon
Tubbsdon

ALL children should be protected, Period. And, cubanogm, you are an idiot...

cubanogm
cubanogm

I think that all States should have laws prohibiting people from one race adopting babies from another race.It is proven by the adoptees that they always feel out of place and very incompetent.Black teenagers have testfied that they always felt out of place in their adopting white family.About the most succesful adoptions are of oriental kids by white families.There are not to many,if any,adoptions of black families adopting white kids.Kids should be adopted by families of the same race.Gays should be allowed to adopt gay kids.By his/hers ten or eleven years even sometimes before kids know that they are gay and they should be placed with a gay couple.They will feel more atuned with the family and there would be less friction.Heterosexual couples do not know how to react to gay kids.It is not their experience in life growing up.Blacks with blacks,whites with whites,gays with gays.Period.

Fernando Mineros
Fernando Mineros

this is so irrelevant and out of place I wonder why even take the time to write such a load of bull$hit...

chipowski
chipowski

Pure trash by Lussenhop and the fact that it is known to all that the family has said the story contains factual errors and that they are traumatized by its repeat, Lussenhop goes ahead and traumatizes the family again. The only bully I see is the arrogant Lussenhop who thinks she can write whatever she wants, true or not, regardless of the impact on the family. Typical liberal media hypocracy.

denpaul1
denpaul1

Thank GOD fot Texas and Arizona 48 more to go.Hey why didn't the rapper write this article it's right up his alley him coming out of the closet and all.

 
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