CommunityPam's House Blend

What is wrong with Florida?

I keep imagining, probably hallucinating, that there are more progressive people in sun and fun Florida than there actually are. Fellow Bloggrrrl Ms. Julien keeps reminding me that the wingnut quotient is quite high. Jebbie makes it easier for these folks to be vocal and increasingly strident.

When I read stories like this one — coming out of Fort Lauderdale — it really blows me away. The homo-bigotry is on autopilot, and the irony is that in this case it’s coming from a diversity committee.

In the aftermath of attacks on gays by members of the Broward County School Board’s Diversity Committee the board is considering dissolving the committee. The controversy began when the 19 member committee was considering the use in schools of the video We Are Family that features SpongeBob SquarePants and other cartoon characters.

One member of the committee, Steve Kane, said that gays “are trying to mess with our kids’ minds and introduce all kinds of activities in the name of tolerance.” Kane, a local conservative radio talk show host has resigned.

But, he was not the only member to condemn gays.

Rev. Katy Peterson, of the Palm Beach Gardens Metropolitan Community Church said other anti-gay committee members “take the School Board’s thoughtfully crafted and progressive diversity policy and use it for toilet paper.

Peterson and other LGBT community leaders are calling for the committee to be shut down. “I think we’re all in agreement about that,” Board Chairwoman Stephanie Kraft told the Sun Sentinel newspaper.

But, it may not be as easy as just passing a motion to disband the committee. School Board lawyers warn that the Diversity Committee was created several years ago as part of a settlement of a discrimination lawsuit. Terminating it could be in violation of that agreement. Instead, the Board may decided to leave the committee intact but suspend future meetings. But, that too, say the attorneys, could result in the board being taken back to court.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding