STUDENTS at an American high school have won the right to wear a T-shirt with an anti-gay slogan after a court ruled they should be allowed to freely express their beliefs.

A Chicago court upheld the ruling after student, Heidi Zamecnik, wore a T-shirt that said "Be Happy, Not Gay" at a Day of Silence at her school to promote tolerance for homosexuals in 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported.....The dean at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, 50km west of Chicago, ordered the student to change the words on the T-shirt to "Be Happy, Be Straight", then asked a female counsellor to ink out the text to just "Be Happy," according to the Naperville Sun.

"A school that permits advocacy of the rights of homosexual students cannot be allowed to stifle criticism of homosexuality," the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit statement said....."People in our society do not have a legal right to prevent criticism of their beliefs or their way of life."...The court said the wearing of anti-gay slogans was allowed if the school could not prove the action would cause a substantial disruption....Two students went to court to argue the school could not ban negative comments about members of a group if they were not breaching the peace.

"Christian students shouldn't be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs," said Nate Kellum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defence Fund, which is a group of Christian attorneys who represented the students in the lawsuit said.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1226014806368