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Gay Students Under Attack Nationwide


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Gay Students Under Attack Nationwide

by Steph Smith, 365Gay.com Chicago Bureau

April 3, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Chicago, Illinois) Bills that are pending or proposed in more than a dozen states across the country would restrict the rights of LGBT students.

In California, Republicans have proposed one of the most restrictive.

AB 2311would prohibit the promotion of homosexuality in public education.

If passed it would silence any discussion about homosexuality or LGBT civil rights. A companion bill would require a judge to take into consideration moral and ethnic values of a dependent child's birth parents before placing the child for adoption or appointing a legal guardian.

“Supporters of these bills should spend their time ensuring a safe learning environment for all California students and promoting programs to find more qualified adoptive and foster parents,” said Seth Kilbourn, Equality California’s political director.

In Idaho, state legislators are considering a potential law that would require students to get a parent's signature to join school clubs and organizations.

The move comes just two months after a club for LGBT students at Lake City High School in the Coeur d'Alene School District drew ire from parents and community members.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Bob Nonini (R-Coeur) d'Alene says his bill would help parents get more involved in their children's lives.

Representative Nicole Lefavour (D-Boise) says the bill would prevent gay and lesbian students from seeking support from their peers at school.

Similar bills aimed at blocking LGBT student clubs have been considered in Utah, Georgia and West Virginia.

The Georgia bill would require parents to sign off on any school club their child joins. In Utah and West Virginia the state legislatures adjourned without passing the bills.

Gay Straight Alliances have been shown to be successful in helping curb homophobia in schools.

A recent poll found that gay students - or students perceived to be gay - were the second largest group of bullied students in schools nationwide.

A similar study taken in 2004 found that 66 percent of students used homophobic language, such as "that's so gay" to describe something that is wrong, bad or stupid and 81 percent reported hearing homophobic language in their schools frequently or often.

©365Gay.com 2006

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