This is the height of hypocrisy. You have the self-proclaimed protector of the values to support families, the NC Family Policy Council, opposing the language of an anti-bullying bill intended to protect children in schools.
HB 1366, the School Violence Prevention Act, would include a reference to sexual orientation and gender identity — and that set off the fundie alarm over the Homosexual Agenda. The paragraph in question:
“Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.”
This language has been a sticking point for over a year, and the far-right fringe has been all over this.
More after the jump.
The Christian Action League is asking people on its mailing list to tell legislators to oppose it, and the N.C. Family Policy Council has written extensively on its view that homosexual rights groups are using school safety issues to promote a social agenda.
“This is a watershed issue, and if ‘sexual orientation’ is enacted into North Carolina law through HB 1366, it will serve as the basis for affirming deviant sexual behaviors throughout our state statutes,” read a brief distributed by Bill Brooks, family policy council executive director.
And here’s a profile in courage — not:
Sen. Stan Bingham, a Republican from Denton, said a lot of his constituents don’t know whether he represents them in Raleigh or in Washington, but a whole lot of people from his area seem to know the details of the bullying bill.
“They must have notified every church in my area,” Bingham said of opponents. The messages were enough to convince him not to support the compromise bill, though he was one of the negotiators.
“It kind of hurt,” he said.
In the end, the language settled upon replaced “gender identity and expression” with “masculinity and femininity.” That was approved by all those participating in the negotiations on the bill.
Rep. Rick Glazier, the Fayetteville Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the change eliminated descriptions that were causing the most controversy but still recognized that effeminate boys and tomboys are bullying targets.
The compromise makes clear that the descriptions in bullying law would not expand the existing classifications of people who can claim discrimination, Glazier said.
Predictably, even that was too much leeway for the Family Policy Council’s Brooks, who said the entire paragraph that refers to bullying targets should have been struck, and the bill simply “focus is on the bully, not the victim.”
Ian Palmquist of Equality NC, while satisfied that the primary goal of protecting children was reached in the compromise, he would have preferred to see the language mirror other states’ similar laws that referred to “gender identity and expression.”
“I think it’s kind of sad that we’re having a debate about something that protects children from bullying in schools.”
NC residents can contact their legislators here.