Sunday, January 01, 2006

Op-Ed: Virginia General Assembly should stay off hot-button social issues

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I found a great op-ed today from The Roanoke Times. The editors are right... the virginia Assembly, as well as Congress and every other State Legislature needs to focus on the issues and stop straying off into hot-button topics. Here is an excerpt:
Legislators, convening Jan. 11, possess the resources to tackle some vexing issues such as a crumbling transportation system, chronically underfunded education and lagging Chesapeake Bay cleanup, but they will succeed only if they avoid straying into divisive, hot-button social issues. Questions about gay rights will flare up immediately, as lawmakers consider whether to ask voters to clutter the state's constitution with a needless amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. That debate is likely unavoidable, but legislators will waste precious time if they take up other measures to deny equal protection to gays, such as outgoing Gov. Mark Warner's order that government agencies not discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation.
Another issue which might possibly be seen in the Virginia Assembly is a proposed bill to ban gay-straight student organizations Virginia public schools. According to On Activism, the blog of 16 year old LGBT activist Tully Satre:
Delegate Matt Lohr (R-Harrisonburg), a freshman of the Virginia General Assembly and successor of the 26th House of Delegates seat (formerly that of Del. Glenn Weatherholtz), plans to introduce a bill in Virginia that would allow public schools to ban Gay/Straight Alliances. Lohr states "Our public schools are not the place [for] clubs based on sexual orientation, whether gay or straight..."
Besides the fact that such a bill would be illegal under the Federal Equal Access Act, it is also just plain wrong and discriminatory: It is an attack on LGBT youth, the most vulnerable segment of the LGBT population. Our elected officials should use their new year legislative sessions for the most important issues: healthcare, economic stability, etc., etc. Hopefully the only time we will here LGBT-anything mentioned in our national and state assemblies is when our officials introduce bills extending equality to LGBT citizens. Technorati Tags: , , , , ,