Among the most mean-spirited slaps at gay and lesbian kids have been attempts by right wing religious organizations, parent-groups, county councils, school boards, and state legislatures, to weaken or eliminate anti-bullying laws and regulations in schools on the lunatic idea that making bullies pay, making bullying less likely to happen, plays into the so-called homosexual agenda. These efforts have taken place troughout the country as religious bigots have pushed back against the gains we've seen for LGBT rights under law.
I reported here about one such (and, luckily, unsuccessful) effort in the Anoka-Hennepin school district just outside Minneapolis. Forthright gay kids and their parents and some of their teachers embarrassed their school board into backing away from eliminating anti-bullying regs that a local chapter of a national, religiously-affiliated 'parents association' nearly had the school district adopt.
Here's what happened this past winter in Illinois.
--from Equality Illinois
The Illinois Senate ...turned down a bill that would have encouraged anti-bullying programs in schools, after conservative religious groups argued that such programs could be used to promote homosexuality.
"There are anti-bullying programs that have an agenda, to only protect one class of individuals," state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Highland) said during floor debate.
House Bill 5290, sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), failed on a 29-12 vote in the Senate.
"While I'm disappointed that the bill didn't pass today, we are not going to give up and have another chance to pass it once we reconfirm our supporters," Cassidy told ChicagoPride.com.
The Illinois Family Institute and Concerned Christians of America said that the law would "promote unproven, non-factual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality...."
Although the bill was supported by Equality Illinois and The Civil Rights Agenda, two Chicago-based gay rights advocacy groups (among other progressive organizations) the anti-bullying bill did not mention homosexuality [nor did it mention or seek to create special protections for any class of student].
"This bill is now and always has been about putting an end to all types of bullying in schools regardless of a child's race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation," Equality Illinois Director of Public Policy Randy Hannig told ChicagoPride.com.
Cassidy said, "Protecting kids is not a gay or straight issue. Schools should be a place of learning, not fear. It's that simple."
Bear in mind, as the piece says, that the legislation does not mention gay or lesbian children, nor any other group of kids.
What becomes clear-as-a-bell is that the animus toward LGBT youth at a time of changing attitudes in the United States, has become shrill and lacking in all sense. These people are willing to ditch laws and proposals that could help all our kids because they could end up helping some of our kids, the some these adults want left unprotected and victimized. These children are our children. They want our schools to be the places of this cruelty so as to be able to pretend their hands are clean when the next gay victim of ongoing school-based bullying hangs herself.
Just some of the organizations that find anti-bullying legislation unacceptable bc it tends to promotes a 'homosexual agenda'--
United Families International Faithful Word Baptist Church
Traditional Values Coalition Save California
Chalcedon Foundation Family Research Institute
Family Research Council Traditional Values Coalition
Sons of Thundr (Faith Baptist Church) American Vision
Illinois Family Institute
H.O.M.E. Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment
Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
Westboro Baptist Church Abiding Truth Ministries
Mass Resistance You Can Run But You Cannot Hide
Parents Action League American Family Association
Mission: America Windsor Hills Baptist Church
True Light Pentecost Church Tom Brown Ministries
Bethesda Christian Institute
CRUEL MEN BELIEVE IN A CRUEL GOD AND USE THEIR
BELIEF TO EXCUSE THEIR CRUELTY.
-- Philosopher Bertrand Russell