Filed under: Bullying
By Scottie Thomaston
The Illinois Family Institute, a hate group based in Illinois, has been pushing ‘concerns’ about the proposed anti-bullying bill in the state. The bill is not a “LGBT bill” – it doesn’t have any pro-LGBT provisions, and there are already LGBT protections within other laws in the state. It is a standard bill focused on anti-bullying efforts:
[The bill] Provides that, on or before January 1, 2013, the State Board of Education shall develop a template for a model bullying prevention policy and sets forth requirements concerning the template.
Although it’s an uncontroversial anti-bullying bill, the concerns raised by the Institute are almost solely based on fears of gay people:
Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) appears to be the leading opponent of the bill, but his talking points parrot the Illinois Family Institute, a fringe spin-off of the American Family Association that has been declared an anti-gay hate group in its own right. McCarter and the IFI insist that the bill should include an “opt-out” provision for any students who don’t want their anti-gay religious beliefs challenged with basic knowledge about the nature of sexual orientation:
MCCARTER: There are anti-bullying programs that have an agenda, to only protect one class of individuals. Some of these programs are very good. They indeed encourage kids not to bully. But there are programs throughout the United States, used in some high schools and universities, that really have just a pro-homosexual agenda, and nothing but that.
McCarter seems to believe that this policy would be a step toward mandating programs about homosexuality, though nothing in its text lends itself to this claim.
The legislation fell one vote short of passage amid concerns raised by anti-gay lobbyists that it could be used to promote acceptance of homosexuality.
An equality group in the state had a rather pointed statement about the bill’s second death:
“The Senate vote was a win for bullying, both in the classroom and in the capitol building,” said Shannon Sullivan, Executive Director of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. “Senators were blindsided by issues that weren’t even on the table, pressured by radical lobbyists that have no problem threatening the wellbeing of Illinois youth for their own personal gain and out-of-touch agenda.”
Legislators in the state are saying the bill isn’t dead yet, however:
State Sen. Heather Steans postponed a vote, saving the legislation from defeat. The bill is headed back to the General Assembly before it returns to the Senate.
Cassidy believes the bill is still likely to pass by the end of the week. It was rejected by just one vote, and two supportive senators were not present for the vote, said Cassidy.
“But it’s a weird time of year,” she said. “Anything can happen.”
We’ll see if the bill can get the required votes for passage before the end of the session.
By Scottie Thomaston
- A new NBC/WSJ poll suggests that President Obama’s announcement that he supports marriage equality will likely have no effect on his re-election prospects. 62% of adults say his support of marriage equality doesn’t matter to them. 54% would ‘support’ a law making marriage equality legal in their state, but only 24% would ‘actively support’ it.
- Yesterday Dharun Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail after being convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in the death of Tyler Clementi, and the sentence got mixed reactions from gay advocates and legal observers.
- A student in Ohio may wear his “Jesus is not a homophobe” t-shirt, a court has ruled.
- The DOJ has finalized its rule to prevent sexual abuse in federal prisons. The rule addresses LGBT prisoners as well.
“Gay brothers and sisters, what are you going to do about it? You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out… to your relatives. I know that is hard and will upset them but think of how they will upset you in the voting booth. Come out to your friends… if they indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… Come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade, [Florida] to Eugene, [Oregon]. If Briggs wins he will not stop. They never do. Like all mad people, they are forced to go on, to prove they were right! There will be no safe ‘closet’ for any gay person. So break out of yours today — tear the damn thing down once and for all!”
The Washington Post has more as well.
- The North Carolina pastor who said he wants gay men and lesbians put behind an electrified fence and leave them to die out is facing nationwide backlash as well as local protests.
- Brian Brown of NOM wants to debate Dan Savage, so Savage said the debate will have to be at his dinner table:
Where? My dining room table. Place? Seattle, Washington. Here’s the deal. We can fill a room with my screaming partisans and your screaming partisans and we’ll both play to our respective peanut galleries and I think both of us have a little bit of grandstander in souls and we will work that and I think that will create more heat than light. And so what I’d like to do is challenge you to come to my house for dinner. Bring the wife. My husband will be there. and I will hire a video crew and we will videotape sort of an after dinner debate.
The trick here is you have to knowledge my humanity by accepting my hospitality and I have to acknowledge yours by extending my hospitality to you. And I’m willing to do that.
- Nebraska’s governor wants to put antidiscrimination ordinances to a public vote.
Breaking: Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days jail time in Tyler Clementi’s death for bias crime, other charges
By Scottie Thomaston
Dharun Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy and his sentencing was held today. The judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail:
Judge Berman was not moved. He says that he’s never heard Ravi say that he was sorry. He said that while Ravi might expunge the record from the trial, “you cannot expunge the conduct and the pain you caused.”
Berman says that he will recommend that Ravi is not deported. He said that was because of M.B.’s request in his letter to the judge.
When weighing up aggravating factors, “This individual was not convicted of a hate crime, he was convicted of a bias crime, and there’s a difference.”
And then he gave his sentence: a 30 day jail term. Ravi’s been sentenced to 30 days in jail. “Allowing you to simply return home with no custodial sentence… would deprecate the integrity of the verdict.”
He had been at risk of deportation:
A sentence of more than a year would also increase the likelihood that federal immigration authorities will try to deport Ravi to India, where he was born and remains a citizen, though he has lived most of his life in New Jersey.
Some gay advocates had asked for a more lenient sentence:
As a result, some gay advocates are calling on the court to give Ravi probation instead of prison time.
Ravi could have faced up to ten years in prison.
Among them is Aaron Hicklin, editor of Out magazine, who said in an article that Ravi was being made a scapegoat for Clementi’s suicide.
Another, E.J. Graff, who writes about gay and lesbian issues, said in her column in The American Prospect, “I fear that Ravi is an easy scapegoat for a complicated problem.”
There will be an appeal.
UPDATE 1: Garden State Equality weighs in:
Those who have oppose giving Dharun Ravi jail time have asked, hasn’t he suffered enough? But we believe there’s another question: Has Dharun Ravi done enough? Has he done enough to use his place in history to speak out against student bullying and to make a positive impact on millions of lives across our state and nation?
Thus far, no.
Full statement here.
UPDATE 2: Here is a full list of the charges Ravi was convicted of.
UPDATE 3: Joe My God has more:
The probation period is three years and includes 300 hours of community service. Ravi has also been fined $11,950 which is to be paid in monthly installments. Ravi will not be deported.