Liam Morrison, a 7th grader, filed a federal lawsuit last month against Nichols Middle School (NMS) officials and the town of Middleborough, Massachusetts, with the help of attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI). Morrison was forbidden to wear a t-shirt to school that reads, "There are only two genders."
In March, shortly after arriving at school wearing the "There are only two genders" shirt, the school's principal and a counselor pulled Morrison out of class and told them he must remove the shirt to return to class. Morrison declined and was picked up by his father shortly after. After NMS told Morrison's family and legal counsel it would continue to prohibit Morrison from wearing the shirt, the 7th grader wore a "There are censored genders" t-shirt to school in response but was told to take it off almost immediately.
"We were asking for an immediate order so that he could express himself for the rest of the school year," ADF legal counsel Logan Spena told Fox News Digital. "Liam's suing for the right to do what every other student in his school currently has the right to do, which is respectfully express their own view on a matter of enormous public concern. What is the relationship between sex and gender?"
In a Wednesday hearing, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston denied Morrison's attorneys' request for a temporary injunction, or restraining order, which would have suspended the school's ability to prohibit Morrison from expressing his views about gender before the court issued its final decision.
Morrison said his school often expresses messages relating to issues of gender identity and sexual orientation, including hanging progress pride flags and posters on transgender identities. While the school encourages students to express views consistent with its ideological view, Spena said, "It's banning Liam from expressing his own views respectfully, which is that there are only two genders."
"The school has other rules on what students can wear that it is allowed to enforce," Spena told Fox News Digital. "Liam's not asking to literally wear whatever he wants, but he is asking to do what other students are already allowed to do, which is express their view on this topic in a non-disruptive manner."
"The better rule is the one that protects everyone," Spena added. "The First Amendment does not change depending on whether your view is popular or not."
Spena said that the school officials and the town of Middleborough are arguing they can censor any speech they think will be offensive to other students. "They claim that because Liam's message is not inclusive, they can exclude it," he said. "What they don't account for is how does their own speech and all the other speech they already permit impact Liam? It completely excludes him. But for some reason that doesn't seem to count."
Another hearing is scheduled for June 13, and Spena said he is hopeful a decision will be made before the end of the school year on June 26, "and hopefully one that protects Liam's constitutional rights." If the court rules against Morrison, Spena said the ADF will appeal the case to a higher court.