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05/24/2010

Fine, social conservatives: Then we expect you to forfeit all religious protections by end of day

by Jeremy Hooper

In our nation's public schools, federal laws already prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, and on the basis of age. But why should a little thing like empirical truth get in the way of the social conservatives' preconceived war against extending the SAME EXACT protections to students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression?

This from Focus on the Family:

Neal McClusky [sic], associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, said every student deserves protection – not just those in a political subgroup.

"It's frankly wrong to have a law that puts you in a specific class and gives you a protection based on your group identity," he said. "What should be prohibited is bullying against anybody."

Federal Bill Requires Schools to Grant LGBT Protections [FOtF Citizenlink]

Right, we totally should get rid of discrimination against *everybody*. That's exactly why Sen. Franken (D-MN), Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY), and 21 senate colleagues have introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act: So that we can extend the SAME EXCT protections to one of this nation's most discernibly vulnerable pupil populations! If other groups (like evangelicals) want to give up the protections they already specifically (and benignly) enjoy so that we can craft one new piece of legislation that inclusively knocks out ALL discrimination, then okay -- we're open to that conversation. But in the meantime, we have a legal reality that does break down biases into targeted groups, yet at the same time leaves one of the most targeted of all student sects completely vulnerable to one of the harshest, most psychologically-stunting, life-robbing forms of bullying to be found in our nation's classrooms. To overlook that fact -- especially on the basis of partisan, personally faith-based, "culture war" politicking -- is not only enraging: It's flat-out CRUEL!

The obvious truth is that groups like Focus on the Family don't want LGBT people included in the SAME EXACT way, quite simply because they don't want people thinking that LGBT students are just like everyone else. These folks absolutely know that the "bullying against anybody should be prohibited" line is hokey-dokey nonsense with no real viability in terms of policy, and that the only way to make this vision actually happen is through the SAME EXACT kind of legislative/legal means that led to all other group-based nondiscrimination protections. But they also know that it's publicly unpalatable to admit their true agenda (a.k.a. keeping LGBT students on a second tier), so they hide it all behind empty rhetoric that's not worth the digital ink with which it's printed. Which is exactly why those of us who truly want to protect ALL children must be willing to call them out on this aggressively disingenuous indoctrination!

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