Judicial Review 2021: Required Sex Ed clashes with Religious Families
By: Ellie Ford
Williamsville High School delegates are facing the only judicial review this year. Their bill, S-O-04, requires sex education for all public high school students to graduate, unless they opt otherwise, but one father is contesting this requirement.
SCOTUS case Marbury v. Madison gives the Supreme Court the authority to examine bills that may contradict the constitution. This process allows the judicial branch to ensure the legislative and executive branches are operating within the parameters of the Constitution.
Kent Colin’s child was unable to graduate high school after refusing to participate in the sex education mandated by Bill S-O-04 for religous reasons. He then challenged the bill, proposing that the bill infringed upon his First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment instructs, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Colin claimed that learning about contraception opposes his son’s religion. As a result, the required sex education, per the bill’s requirements, would violate his son’s first ammendment right.
The Williamsville attorneys argued that a parent may opt a child out of the planned education, but clauses in the bill seemed to contradict each other. One could be interpreted as requiring the class for graduation, while another specifies the class is not required if a parent opts out.
The trial is entirely virtual this year. While taking away the atmosphere from years previous, the virtual trial will allow for all voices to be clearly heard. Chief Justice Musgraves oversaw the trial starting at 1:15 pm. After each side presented their case, the judicial branch decided that the bill was constitutional and would continue to be enforced.