Equal Access Act Law and Legal Definition

Equal Access Act is a federal Act passed in the year 1984 to compel federally-funded secondary schools to provide equal access to extracurricular clubs. The Act provides that it shall be unlawful for any public secondary school which receives Federal financial assistance and which has a limited open forum to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings. However, exceptions can be made for groups that "materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within the school .A school can technically "opt out" of the act by prohibiting all non-curriculum clubs.

The Equal Access Act has also been used to fight opposition to Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools across the nation.