Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Anti-gay bill banning gay-straight student clubs passes Virginia House

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According to an AP article published by the Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA), a bill which would ban all gay-straight student groups from Virginia schools has received approval from the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Matthew Lohr, follows a similar bill which easily passed in the House 95-0 but later died in the Senate Education and Health Committee. Gay-straight student clubs (most commonly known as "gay-straight alliances" or "GSAs") have been caught up in a firestorm of controversy around the country. Many state governments have been trying desperately to find ways to get around the Federal Equal Access Act (1984) which guarantees students' rights to form groups on campus. Under the FEA schools cannot censor the student-initiated clubs on the basis of their religious, political or philosphical speech or content. Delegate Lohr's House Bill 1308 bans all student clubs which would promote teen promiscuity... that is, no club which advocates sexual activity between unmarried teens can exist in the schools. (Too bad they don't realize GSAs aren't about sex). According to the article:
Monday, lawmakers appeared split over the bill, some arguing it unfairly singled out gay groups while others countered the legislation targeted no one. "This bill is not aimed at one particular group," Lohr told House members. "The intent is to give local school boards more control over the types of groups which use the buildings." But when pressed by Del. James Scott, D-Falls Church, about which groups could be interpreted as addressing sexual issues, Lohr referred to a situation involving a Chesterfield County gay-straight student alliance last year. In that case, Lohr said school officials canceled a planned book signing by a gay author after it was learned the author would be including a steamy novel about gay fraternity sex. Lohr argued school officials should have been able to quash the group entirely. "Whether it be homosexual or heterosexual, school is just not the place to be talking about sexual activity," said Lohr, adding he would encourage schools to disband heterosexually oriented groups that promoted teen sex. But gay-straight alliances are focused on helping teens sort out their sexuality - not telling them how to act on it, argued Ebbin, the state's first openly gay House member. "What troubles me is the targeting of student groups because they (acknowledge) the idea that gay people exist," he said.
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The neo-rightwing is so two-faced. They cry for freedom of speach on one hand, and on the other they deny it to anyone who does not fit into their religious convictions. What hypocrites.

Time for us to take the fight to their churches. Make THEM uncomfortable.