WAYNESVILLE, Ohio – A gay Ohio teenager filed a federal lawsuit against his high school Tuesday after he was forbidden from wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe."
Maverick Couch, 17, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that officials at Waynesville High School said he could not wear the garment at school because it was "indecent and sexual in nature."
"I don't think the shirt is sexual at all," Couch said. "I don't know how they can say that. I don't think it's indecent."
He hoped to wear the shirt to his school in Waynesville, 40 miles northeast of Cincinnati, on April 20 for this year's Day of Silence, an annual protest against bullying organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Waynesville High principal Randy Gebhardt had told Couch he could not wear it on several previous occasions, including last year's Day of Silence, according to the Enquirer.
Two Waynesville students reportedly complained when Couch wore the T-shirt.
Christopher Clark, Couch's attorney, said his client tried to resolve the issue out of court for several months and filed his lawsuit as a last resort.
The suit asks US District Judge Michael Barrett to order the school to allow him to wear the shirt.
Couch is also seeking attorney fees and "nominal" damages, according to Clark.