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Illinois HS district being sued for discrimination

The superintendent for the Bremen Community High School District, Dr. Richard Mitchell, is filing a lawsuit against the district for sexual orientation discrimination. He is charging that the president of the district, Evelyn Gleason, has tried to remove him from his position because he is gay. (Lambda Legal):

“Ms. Gleason didn’t want Dr. Mitchell to be hired and now that she is president of the Board, she’s doing everything in her power to get him fired because he is gay,” said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office. “The fact that Dr. Mitchell is gay has nothing to do with his ability to do his job.”

…In 2004, Mitchell interviewed for the position of superintendent with members of the School Board. Following his interview, then Board member Evelyn Gleason encouraged other members of the Board not to hire him because he is gay. The Board chose to hire Mitchell through the end of the 2007 school year, and following an assessment of his work in 2005 the school board extended his contract through June 2009. Shortly after Mitchell’s contract was extended, Gleason became president of the Board and subsequently fired the Board’s counsel, hiring the law firm where her son was partner. The new lawyer to the Board promptly circulated a memo finding that Mitchell’s extended contract was invalid.

Lambda Legal is citing that the actions are illegal under the Illinois Human Rights Act, which covers sexual orientation and gender identity.

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In another case handled by Lambda Legal, a Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that a lesbian mother will retain primary custody of her daughter.

the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that a parent’s custody or visitation rights cannot be limited just because that parent is gay or lesbian, and lives with their partner, when there is no adverse effect on the child.

“This is really great news for our client and gay and lesbian parents in Georgia,” said Jack Senterfitt, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office in Atlanta. “It means custody arrangements can’t be challenged just because a parent is gay or lesbian.”

Victoria Moses and Kelvin King had a daughter together. After the couple split, primary custody of the child was awarded to Moses. After Ms. Moses’ partner moved into her home, King sued to change custody. A lower court did so, even though King had not paid child support for over a year and a half. Since the mother’s relationship had no adverse effect on the child, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and said that the mother’s custody rights should never have been changed.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding