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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Anti-gay legislation nothing but bullying from House GOP

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

If you have followed the Missouri House this year, and you don't wear a tin-foil hat meant to help ward off the laser beams from the black helicopters circling your bunker, then it will be no surprise that the Republicans filed another piece of extremist legislation last week.

The House already has passed bills that seek to demonize Muslims, question the president's citizenship and nullify both Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.

So it should be no surprise that House Republicans now want to bully gay teenagers. But what is a surprise — make that an outrage — is that the top leadership of the House backs this hateful and unconstitutional attack on individual rights.

House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and Rules Committee Chairman John Diehl, R-Town and Country, are co-sponsors of House Bill 2051, which contains just one sentence:

"Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school."

The purpose of the bill, which mimics others that have been passed and overturned by courts elsewhere, is to ban Gay-Straight Alliances from forming. Those student groups, like other student groups from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to the Spanish Club, are important — and constitutionally protected — extracurricular activities that keep students involved in their school.

In the case of gay students, the alliances also could be the difference between life and death.

There are too many cases, all across the country, of young people being bullied for being gay or for the suspicion that they are gay.

"This effort only serves to make youth more susceptible to harm and suicide by keeping teachers and administrators from providing support and guidance," said A.J. Bockelman, executive director of the gay-advocacy group PROMO.

Just this week, responding to the suicide of a gay teen who had been bullied in its community, the Sioux City Journal in Iowa published a courageous front-page editorialheadlined "We must stop bullying. It starts here. It starts now."

In Missouri, on the other hand, the House Republican leadership is the bully. That the House has become so extreme and so pandering to social conservative forces who peddle fear — Muslims will take over our courts, gays will recruit our children, immigrants will take our jobs and blacks will steal our elections — is emblematic of how badly our political system has disintegrated.

That St. Louis-area representatives — Mr. Jones and Mr. Diehl in particular — would sponsor such a loathsome bill in a cynical attempt to garner support from the right wing as they climb the legislative ladder is truly shameful.

We wonder how the parents of gay teens at the schools in their districts — in Clayton, Richmond Heights, Parkway and others — will respond to such bullying? What about the gay and lesbian lawyers in their firms or the businesses they represent?

There is no chance that HB 2051 will become law. There are enough grown-ups in the Missouri Senate to stop it in its tracks. But simply filing such a bill sends its intended message.

In Missouri, bullying isn't just allowed. It's encouraged at the highest levels.

 Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reprinted with permission


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Comments

mike mentor April 25, 2012 | 10:06 a.m.

IMHO, the bullying is coming from the progressives. Speaking as a parent, I am feeling bullied on a regular basis by progressives that want to expose children to issues that they may not be ready to deal with to further their own agenda. There is a reason that we offer criminal psychology and human sexuality courses in college and not in grade school and it doesn't have anything to do with hate.

I have to admit, I would think there are more pressing issues, but I like the idea of standing up for what you believe even if it flies in the face of the progressive liberal media's idea of PC.

(Report Comment)
Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 11:19 a.m.

ditto M. Mentor. If there is truly bullyig then it needs to be handled as such. Teaching my children something they are not ready to deal with is counterproductive to maturity.

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Ed Lane April 25, 2012 | 11:21 a.m.

You make some great points Mike. This seems to be more of a media thing with most.

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Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 11:25 a.m.

this comment "The House already has passed bills that seek to demonize Muslims" is extreme. Their is a big difference between demonizing a religion and protecting or civil rights. Proponents of Sharia law have no concern or respect for civil rights.

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John Schultz April 25, 2012 | 12:27 p.m.

Shariah law is a bogeyman. Please explain how it would take effect and trump the Constitution and existing state laws.

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Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 1:11 p.m.

John, you can find this in the following document in pdf form.
"The Center for Security Policy’s report, Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases evaluates 50 Appellate Court cases from 23 states that involve conflicts between Shariah (Islamic law) and American state law."
I'm not saying they'll win over Constitution or States Laws, I'm just saying there is nothing 'demonizing' about closing up potential loopholes.

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Mark Renn April 25, 2012 | 1:39 p.m.

To those who feel that children aren't capable of understanding these issues (Mike Mentor, Cheyenne Greene), I have to say, you are WRONG! Children absolutely DO understand these issues. Bullies understand hate. Those bullied understand being tormented. In grade school, and even moreso in high school, the act of bullying because of sexual orientation or PERCEIVED orientation is VERY real. Don't kid yourselves. This isn't just being progressive, it's being realistic. It happened to me when I was in school in the 70's and 80's. It's happening now.

To deny kids the right to organize to fight this bullying is a form of bullying unto itself. No child should have to endure bullying under any pretext. And kids should be able to form groups to support and educate others. Why is that so wrong?

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Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 2:18 p.m.

Mark, I believe you missed the point. Organizing support groups is not the issue. Bullying is not the issue. Teaching my child about sexuality (outside of scientific edu.)is bullying me.
Alliances can be gained without mandating curriculum about sexual issues. Allow me to decide when my child is mature enough to handle sexual issues.
And for those who will say its not a sexual issue, then why does it involve sex?

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ryan matt April 25, 2012 | 2:26 p.m.

Good points Mike, Cheyenne, and Ed. I wouldn't want my children exposed to the bad things in life like homosexuality. So I applaud you in voicing such a good argument to tell the schools to stop.

Likewise, I don't want my children to hear of other bad things such as racism, so I think skipping Dr. King and the civil rights movement would be wise. In addition, slavery will only induce guilt and disgust, so that isn't necessary. The suffrage of women isn't a very happy story, nor is the colonization of Africa. And what good can one learn from things like the Nazis and the holocaust? Nothing IMHO.

My children simply aren't ready to be forced to learn about these things. Besides, if they did learn about them, it only expose then to the real world. And I definitely do not want that. And since I don't want it for my self, I won't let my kids learn of it either, since I control them completely.

So no thanks Obama, you can keep your gay agenda. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to write to my state rep about getting all those other troubling things about reality scrubbed out of the books, because kids these days simply aren't ready.

Hopefully YouTube hasn't indoctrinated them already. Those stupid liberal progressives.

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Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 2:40 p.m.

wow Ryan,can you be more thick headed? Its not about homosexuality or whether its bad or good. I could care less and expect my kids will learn all about it when mature enough.
You're jumping to conclusions and grandstanding on ignorance are part of the problem.
Don't force any curriculum of sexuality on my child.

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Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 2:45 p.m.

and Ryan, if you ask even my youngest who Moses is he will tell you. He will tell you of the biblical Moses and he will tell you of H. Tubman. If you ask who Ruby Bridges is, he will not only tell you but can get a copy of a book he has about her dedicated to her amazing teacher.
Ryan, go back to school!

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mike mentor April 25, 2012 | 3:16 p.m.

@Mark
I think you left off the letters that are supposed to come after your name (like phd...) that tell the rest of the world you have obtained adequate knowledge to make a statement like, "Children absolutely do understand these issues".

If grade school age children are indeed "little adults", should Texas fry the kids that kill someone?

Why do we have laws against adult child sexual relationships if children already get sexuality and are mature enough to handle it?

I think this is a can of worms that we don't need to open at school. If you feel your child needs to be aware of these issues, you certainly have the right to talk about it with your child.

I would suggest to you that bullying happens to kids for all different kinds of reasons and we can successfully implement anti bullying campaigns without going in to the details of how and why people are different sexually.

Your friends at the ACLU are currently suing an Indiana school for expelling 3 teenagers that made a facebook page with a list of their classmates they would like to kill. Maybe you want to write them a letter about how much of a problem bullying is in our schools?

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ryan matt April 25, 2012 | 3:17 p.m.

But see, that's part of the problem Cheyenne! He already knows of Tubman. Who's next, Karl Marx? Chairman Mao? The school is already holding your youngest captive. Wait until fifth grade when he'll learn about sexual education. Sure it's a highly diluted form of it but then in eighth grade they'll talk about intercourse and pregnancy, HIV and condoms. And who knows if the teacher will have the gall to discuss homosexuality.

Frankly I'm on your side. Perhaps we should both go back to school to see all the inappropriate things our children learn these days. We'd both vomit at the lesson plan, I can assure you.

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mike mentor April 25, 2012 | 3:21 p.m.

I should add Ryan to the addressee line for the above post. I was busy posting and work had the nerve to interupt me!

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mike mentor April 25, 2012 | 3:29 p.m.

@Ryan
Your confusing the difference between good and bad and maturity. I don't want schools talking to children about sexuality because of their maturity levels and not because it is bad. If it's bad for you, you're doing it wrong ;-)

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ryan matt April 25, 2012 | 3:34 p.m.

I don't know why you guys are after me, I'm with you! Just turn a blind eye and the grass is greener on the other side! It rhymes, so it must be true. And I'm pretty sure Texas has tried 15 and 16 yr olds as adults, and as they should! Those little devil children... I mean adults, knew what they were doing! Strap them in and light them up I say!!

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Cheyenne Greene April 25, 2012 | 3:38 p.m.

no Ryan, he knows of Tubman (Moses) because I helped him research it. He has the Bridges book because I bought it for him. When he is old enough to know about Mao and Marx, I assure you he will know the true story. He will learn their evil actions and intent.
And no, he will not learn of sexuality from our school. He will be taught to accept people for the content of their character, reagradless of who they choose as a life partner.

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mike mentor April 25, 2012 | 3:44 p.m.

@Ryan
Your sillyness might be considered a display of immaturity to some. How old are you? Your answer could be valuable information in establishing a baseline as to when kids are still too immature to have adult discussions about adult topics.

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ryan matt April 25, 2012 | 3:55 p.m.

Ah but Cheyenne, they DO teach sexuality in school. Thank God not about homosexuality.... yet. I should know, I went to CPS K-12. But as we all know, school is NOT the place for the kind of lewd subject that sex is. There's plenty of that no-no subject in movies, on tv, on the radio, in music, on the internet, in advertising, in art, books, and grocery checkout lane magazine racks.

Point is, school is NOT the place.

Even if it seems like it's already every where else.

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John Schultz April 25, 2012 | 4:10 p.m.

Cheyenne, I'm going to have to ask for some hard documentation on these claims:

"Their is a big difference between demonizing a religion and protecting or civil rights."

Which civil rights are allegedly protected by the law referenced in the article, as no bill number was mentioned?

"Proponents of Sharia law have no concern or respect for civil rights."

Really? Not a single one of them?

"I'm not saying they'll win over Constitution or States Laws, I'm just saying there is nothing 'demonizing' about closing up potential loopholes."

Which potential loopholes?

I think I've seen the document you mentioned previously and most of the cases were very inconsequential, but I'll give it a 10 minute glance.

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mike mentor April 25, 2012 | 4:23 p.m.

Ryan
Why is it against the law for a 35 year old man to take a 14 year old girl out and get her drunk and have sex with her?

Sex and alcohol are everywhere? Surley you don't want your 12 year old daughter or sister to miss out on all the fun...

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John Schultz April 25, 2012 | 4:40 p.m.

From the Top 20 cases:

1. Was the husband arrested? Appellate court overruled the trial court.
2. Couple married in Pakistan, divorced in Pakistan, so shouldn't Pakistani law apply?
3. Sounds like simple contract law to me, shouldn't have signed something he couldn't read.
4. Another divorce case, which country's laws do you follow depending on where the people are citizens and where the marriage occurred?
5. Married and divorced in India, think I'm seeing a pattern here...
6. Dave Ramsey saves everyone needs a will, I agree.
7. Well ain't that a fun one, the courts used both Moroccan Muslim and Syrian Christian law. Yet people only complain about Shariah?
8. Married in Malaysia, not US citizens, divorced in the Phillipines. Fun!
9. Finally, a court case involving actual American citizens. How did it end? Why didn't the PDF mention that result since the case is from 1988?
10. Sheraton was forum shopping, something that happens in the US all the time (wonder why so many malpractice cases are tried in Columbia?).
11. Simple contract law.
12. Hmm, seems I recall a recent court case involving teachers at a Christian school not being allowed to sue the school that fired them...
13. Lebanese nationals getting divorced.
14. Seems like the right result happened here.
15. This one shouldn't have been decided using Saudi law unless part of the contract the companies signed.
16. Seems like contract law to me.
17. Pakistani marriage, divorce in America, American laws followed.
18. California law shoots down a "temporary" marriage ceremony.
19. Seems like the courts got it right since of the people involved in the divorce had joint American citizenship.
20. Seems like the courts got that one right as well.

With cases going back to 1978(!) in that list, why is Shariah such a big bogeyman all of a sudden?

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Phillip Koons April 25, 2012 | 7:26 p.m.

I agree with the writer although I think he takes it a bit overboard. I also agree with parents about having the choice for their child. I think one of the major problems in these comments though is the lack of separation between sexual orientation and sex. I can tell you that I have a boyfriend and since I'm a guy, you'd know I'm gay. Nothing was ever said about sex though. If you created images in your head, that's on you.

The bill is overreaching though. It doesn't aim to silence teaching about sexuality, it's intent is to silence all conversation about homosexuality. However, it'll go beyond that as it includes heterosexuality as well. Can English classes teach Romeo & Juliet? When History classes talk about Henry the 8th, will the story of Anne Boleyn go to the way side? Neither of those classes are sciences but both are two simple examples of teaching about sexual orientation without involving sex but clearly modelling heterosexuality.

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Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 25, 2012 | 7:49 p.m.

mike mentor said:

"IMHO, the bullying is coming from the progressives. Speaking as a parent, I am feeling bullied on a regular basis by progressives that want to expose children to issues that they may not be ready to deal with..."

You mean like guns, aka instruments whose sole purpose is to kill? I totally agree.

As a point of reference, let's remind ourselves that virtually all of us got to a point in our lives where we started wanting to have sex, simply because we're human. On the other hand, find me a kid developing a strong urge to shoot guns and I'll show you a dangerous person.

Point being, kids aren't as stupid as you think, and it's odd that you don't think they'd be able to cope with the idea of two men (or women) loving one another. It's also odd that you don't have any qualms about exposing kids to the idea of people firing deadly projectiles at one another.

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Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 25, 2012 | 7:59 p.m.

Cheyenne Greene said:

"Don't force any curriculum of sexuality on my child."

Uh, no one forces kids to partake in extracurricular activities. That's kinda why they're extracurricular in the first place, aka outside the curriculum, aka outside what you're required to do.

Don't force your bigotry on my child either.

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Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 25, 2012 | 8:34 p.m.

And since I know that someone will take issue with my last sentence above, let's clarify: It really IS bigotry, and all the arguments being made here in defense of it are merely a whitewash.

You're the ones adding sex into the mix for no reason whatsoever, as if telling your kids "mommy and daddy love each other" necessarily leads to a birds-and-the-bees talk. No, it doesn't. If your 6-year-old son comes home from school and tells you he likes some girl in his class, you wouldn't suddenly feel compelled to teach him all about condoms and safe sex. You'd just find his comment cute and probably even tell your friends about it.

We talk to kids all the time about relationships and love between two people without a single reference to sex, and yet apparently it's impossible to divorce sex from a conversation about two homosexuals who love another. Interesting double standard, isn't it?

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mike mentor April 26, 2012 | 10:01 a.m.

@Phillip
Good balanced post above.

I think we are all being naive if you don't think there would be a reaction in a classroom if the subject of same sex marraige or gay sex or any sex for that matter was talked about in a classroom. They can barely get through regular sex ed, which is supposed to be strictly biological, without innappropriate discussions. Many of which could actually be harmful to the very people you think would be helped by such discussions. Accidental or spur of the moment "outings" which may have adverse effects. I just don't think you have a common maturity level with kids these age to have constructive, unbiased, discussions. If kids are not getting the support they need from their own family, they could find support in peer groups that would be able to support each other without being sponsored by the school. I just don't see where the school should be forced to sponsor these peer groups.

Phillip, I appreciate you being aware of parents concerns when the subject is close to you. A small, very positive, insight in to your character.

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Phillip Koons April 26, 2012 | 1:15 p.m.

@Mike

Oh, I don't doubt that there would in fact be some inappropriate comments. The topic of sex tends to do that with children. I remember going through sexual education myself in 5th grade and of course giggling over words. However, we don't avoid sexual education because of inappropriate comments or maturity level. It's simply ignored and we move on. There's no reason to treat it differently because of that. I know it's a tough topic for adults to address honestly and forwardly with eachother...let alone children. Continually avoiding the conversation continually makes it difficult though.

If a school supports ANY extracurricular clubs, then they should have policies in place to support them all. We could debate about whether schools should sponsor any of those clubs but that's not really the point. They currently do.

On a side note, thanks for the compliment. I'm not a parent yet but I think it's easy to see the concern.

(Report Comment)
jennifer schultz April 27, 2012 | 2:51 a.m.

to those that say talking about sexuality whether it is heterosexual or homosexuals there is nothing wrong with discussing this in high school. the article mentioned a high shcool teen. not in grade school. and ryan matt what is that kool-aid talk about not teaching about martin luther king jr. and slavery. that is part of the history of america. perhaps it will teach children to be kind to others. when children are born they are not prejudiced. they are taught prejudice and hate; usually by the parents or how they talk about people who are different.
not talking about the holocaust, what is next not telling kids about the industrial revolution and how kids as young as eight worked in factories who had arms mangled, fingers cut off becasue there was not protection for them. and newt gingrich wants them to work as janitors. why not just put them back to work in factories. and m. mentor (not a good last name for you)no one is pusing any progressive agenda down anyones throat. what they can do if they teach sex ed. most schools let the kids take a permission slip home to get it signed by a parent to get permission to take the class. that way you can teach your daughters that they can get pregnant if they go swimming after a boy does. becaause during the bush admin. with abstinence policy the pregnancy rate skyrocketed. went up 50 percent with some small town girls setting up pregnancy pacts.
and since this is in missouri how is obama pushing this "agenda" as you say. as a state they can make their own laws. the fact that they are trying to pass this silly law (instead of focusing on violence against women/ to help those with disabilities who cant afford health care get health care)and obama has nothing to do with this.
also, if you noticed bullying is not just related to gay issues. if you have seen any clips from the movie bully you can see the boy in the movie with thick glasses is not bullied anything about being gay. he is not a jock and he is tormented because he is a good student and what someone might say is a little geeky. also, the student the other day on ABC news was an autistic boy who is being called names by TEACHERS NOT STUDENTS, BUT SOMETHING THE STUDENTS WILL PICK UP BY WATCHING SUCH A THINGS.
I had to take four theology courses when I got my RN/BSN at a jesuit college. our theology didnt talk about bible verses but about the actual historical events. that is the difference. religion is an organized item, theology is the study of historical aspects of god and jesus through archeology and finding various antiquities that they find throughout the world. theology is the study of feminism theology, how jesus spent time with prostitutes, pharisees(who were crooked)and the bankers who he threw out of the temple. he spent time with beggars and those who didnt have much. if one reads the bible jesus talks about being kind to people not mean and hateful.
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