Empty desks in a classroom, one desk has a notebook and pencil

On July 25, 2022, the National Women’s Law Center, along with our law firm partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and 21 additional advocacy organizations, filed an amicus brief in Sinclair v. San José Unified School District Board of Education in support of the school district and its nondiscrimination policies that require official school clubs to be open to everyone.

In 2019, the San José Unified School District decided not to officially recognize a student chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) because the club conditioned students’ full participation on signing a sexual purity statement that discriminated against LGBTQ students in violation of the district’s nondiscrimination policies. FCA sued, demanding that the school district make an exception for the FCA chapter’s discriminatory membership and leadership criteria because the district also allows other forms of so-called “discrimination” in the context of allowing single-sex sports teams, student affinity organizations, and other groups with certain criteria for participation. The lower court correctly ruled in favor of the school and its nondiscrimination policies and denied FCA’s request for a preliminary injunction. Now FCA is appealing, and our amicus brief urges the Ninth Circuit to affirm the lower court’s decision.

NWLC’s amicus brief explains that single-sex sports teams and open-membership clubs and programs geared towards particular communities are not “exceptions” to the district’s nondiscrimination policies and are allowed by existing civil rights laws, which both protect against discrimination and promote inclusion. FCA’s attempt to argue that the district’s nondiscrimination policies do not allow for any consideration of demographic factors in any aspect of a school’s operations would create absurd results and conflict with federal and state laws.     

To learn more, check out our blog post about the case.