A fifth grader at a Queen’s elementary school was initially told he could make same-sex marriage the topic of an upcoming speech by the building principal. After pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the gay community, Kameron Slade was able to deliver the address he had penned for the school event today. The rights of free speech and the rights of schools to determine age-appropriate behavior went head-to-head over the child’s proposed speech topic.
Slade wrote a speech supporting gay marriage during a school-wide contest, MSN reports. The 10-year-old included phrases such as “Marriage is about love and commitment. So who are we to judge” Principal Beryl Bailey determined the speech was too controversial for the fifth grade but a significant segment of the New York City population sides with the contest-winning author and rallied around his right to deliver the speech, according to interview excerpts on NY1 News republished by MSN.
Slade was granted air-time on local news stations to read his same-sex marriage essay and due at least in part to public pressure, was given permission by school administrators to read his speech during an upcoming assembly, CBS notes. “Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to may whoever they want,” Slade stated in his speech, according to the Huffington Post Gay Voices. During the speech the child also goes on to detail his own experiences being raised by a lesbian couple.
The school principal informed the parents of fifth grade students at PS 195 about the content of the pro-gay marriage speech in advance, World News Daily reports. Both Slade’s mother and his teacher helped him write the speech. Slade’s mother (who requested not to identified when speaking to local news media) stated same-sex marriage is part of our lives now and the school and New York City Department of Education needs to “open up” about the issue, Huffington Post reports.