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Virginia Bill That Could Dismantle Gay School Groups Passes House

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Virginia Bill That Could Dismantle Gay School Groups Passes House

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 31, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Richmond, Virginia) Virginia's House of Delegates passed legislation Tuesday allowing local school boards to prohibit the use of school facilities by groups they believe encourage promiscuity.

Opponents of Del. Matthew Lohr's bill claim its real purpose is to dissolve gay-straight alliances, which typically meet on campus.

Dyana Mason, head of Equality Virginia warned that the legislation would essentially dissolve the gay-straight alliances, which typically meet on school grounds.

But Lohr, R-Harrisonburg, said during debate Monday that the bill does not target any specific group.

"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 Falls Church Democratic Del. James Scott 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.

With little debate, the House voted 70-29 to pass the bill.

The House also voted 68-31 to pass a bill sponsored by Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, requiring family life education programs to encourage abstinence as the only guarantee against unwanted pregnancy.

Both bills now go to the Senate, where a bill identical to Lohr's died in committee last year.

©365Gay.com 2006

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