ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Friday, December 23, 2005

Contracts, Sexuality and the (Un?)Ambiguous Principles of Divine Revelation

A lesbian teenager in Georgia was expelled from her private, Christian high school for kissing another girl at a sleepover party. Now the teenager and her father have sued the high school claiming breach of contract. (There appears to be a trend of breach of contract claims against Christian high schools in similar fact patterns; a high school student in Florida brought a similar case , though the press accounts began with tales of a breach of contract suit and more recently seem to have refocused on infliction of emotional distress).

In the Georgia case, the (then) ninth-grader alleges that the school expelled her for having an “inappropriate relationship” in violation of the school’s standard of conduct on “sexual immorality.” From press accounts, it appears that the teenager’s legal theory is that the school breached the contract of enrollment, and the “sexual immorality” clause in the code of conduct is too vague to be enforced. The terms “inappropriate relationship” and “sexual immorality” apparently are not expressly defined in the code of conduct. The teenager’s lawyer stated:

Right now, the code doesn't tell you anything about what sexual immorality is, aside from a few vague Biblical references. . . .What [the teenager] did is not expressly forbidden in Scripture and a legal contract cannot be based upon vague principles of divine revelation.

This potentially thrusts into the judicial sphere the dubious task of interpreting whether “sexual immorality” unambiguously includes a same-sex kiss.  Now, there's a thought to ponder over the holidays.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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