H.R. 4530: "Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2010"
Opposition to the bill.
"Mission America's" opposition
In this website, "LGBT" is an an acronym that refers
to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and transgender persons.
Opposition to H.R. 4530:
Liberty Counsel, a fundamentalist Christian legal defense group: According to One News Now, attorney Matt Barber believes that "there is no evidence of systematic discrimination against students who identify themselves as homosexual or transgender." He said:
"This is really a sleight of hand, [a] cynical political maneuver by the homosexual activist lobby attempting to once again garner victimhood status for people based on abhorrent sexual behaviors."
Barber may not be aware that the act applies to heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals, cisgendered and transgender people equally. He is also defining persons protected under the bill according to their behaviors and not
their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, under the ambiguous definition of "sexual orientation" in the bill, he is free to do that.
One News Now comments that:
"While Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), the introducer of the bill, contends that alleged discrimination leads to high dropout rates and underachievement, the Liberty Counsel attorney points out that there are already laws that protect students from bullying."
While this is true, the aim of the bill is to prevent all forms of discrimination, not merely bullying.
Barber further commented that:
"The true motive here is to essentially codify, to treat those who hold traditional values, officially to have the government treat them as the modern-day racist. The idea here is to outlaw...opposition to the homosexual lifestyle, not to garner any needed protections against discrimination for gay and lesbian students."
This comment gets to the heart of the conflict. Should discrimination based on a person's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identification be considered acceptable behavior. Or should it be considered abohrent and considered similar to racism, sexism, xenophobis, etc. Teens and young adults tend to differ from the elderly; as do religious conservatives from religious liberals, and those who have LGBT persons as friends or relatives from those who do not. The culture is clearly in a state of flux.
One News Now comments that:
"Barber further notes that former homosexuals who have come out of the lifestyle have no such protections --and though they are harassed, he notes they receive no special protection under the law."
Both Barber and One News Now appear to miss the point of the bill. Nobody would receive special protection under the bill. Barber is apparently referring to "ex-gays" who are typically persons with a homosexual orientation who have decided to become celibate or persons with a bisexual orientation who have decided to limit sexual activities to members of the opposite sex. Barber's comments are correct. They would not receive special treatment. However, as noted above, all persons are given equal protection from discrimination, whether thay have -- or are perceived to have -- a homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual orientation, or are -- or appear to be -- cisgendered or transgender.
That is the essence of H.R. 4530: all students are to be treated equally by being given equal protection from bullying and other form of harassment and discrimination. 1
Focus on the Family, a fundamentalist Christian advocacy group in Colorado: Curiously, they do not have an entry on HR 4530. A search for harassment students sexual orientation turned up two entries, one from 1998 and the other from 2005.
Family Research Council is a fundamentalist Christain advocacy group in Washington DC. They also don't have an entry on HR 4530. A search for harassment students sexual orientation turned up zero entries.
The American Family Association (AFA) also does not seem to have commented on H.R. 4530, although it is difficult to know for certain because they don't have a search vacility or contact us button.
America's Independent Party: "George W" posted a note to the party's website calling for a recall movement to remove Rep. Rush Holt from office. It stated:
" I strongly suggest that each of you read, review this 'Horrendous Bill' (my family and I) that it is our opinion (my family and I) can, and will harm our children, grandchildren, and children for generation to come!"
"I myself believe that the NJ residents of District 12, should set in motion a recall of Rush Holt, I farther believe that the residents of the entire State call out, and insist that he be recalled. There is NO Way that I can believe that his co-sponsoring of this Bill is backed, or supported by the majority of his District constituents, quit [sic] the opposite. Your families, friends, neighbors must be made aware of H.R. 4530, and Representative Holt’s co-sponsoring of it."2
Detailed analysis of the reasons for Mission America's opposition:
Mission America published a list of talking points on H.R. 4530a based upon their deep analysis of the bill: [Emphasis theirs] We have included rebuttals as might be voiced by proponents of the bill. 3
"Harassment or violence against public school students over alternate lifestyles is the excuse for this broad proposal. Yet such violence is not the widespread problem being claimed in this bill. Hard data continues to be missing. Where it does occur, incidents can be dealt with effectively under existing school policies, or if needed, local and state criminal laws. The goal should be protecting all students for all reasons, not just those involved in certain special-status behaviors."
The thousands of Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools is a rather good indication that harassment of students on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is a major, pervasive problem. Another good indication are studies from the mid-1990s until recently that document the incidence and types of harassment endured by GLBT students at the hands of homophobic fellow students.
Numerous surveys have documented the high level of bullying and other forms of harassment.
They apparently haven't actually read the bill because it protects "all students" -- students of all actual and perceived sexual orientations and gender identities -- from bullying and other forms of harassment.
"The [bill's] goal is to silence those who may warn about or object to student expression of homosexuality or gender confusion. Such warnings might literally save a child’s life."
Actually, the bill only covers harrassment in various forms. Free speech is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gender identity is not gender confusion.
A transgender person is typically quite certain about the gender that they are; they are not confused. However, the gender that they feel they are does not agree with their birth-assigned gender.
Bullying and other forms of harassment have triggered loss of life through suicide.
"The phony concept of 'gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender' identity is the shaky foundation of this bill. ... it is very harmful to label and stereotype young people with questionable lifestyles and high-risk behaviors. People are never locked biologically into the chosen behaviors of homosexuality or gender change, which are as inappropriate for children as they are for adults. To fix the identity of a harmful practice on a child severely compromises the child’s future, is emotionally and psychologically damaging, and amounts to a form of child endangerment."
The bill primarily protects students who have already identified themselves as being of a specific sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the student, not the bill, that defines a student's orientation or identity.
protects students who are being harassed because they have been incorrectly identified. One study showed that more heterosexual students are harrased for appearing to be gay or lesbian than gay or lesbian students are.
In fact, the vast majority of therapists agree that sexual orientation and gender identity are unchangeable once established. One good indication of this is the difficulty obtaining subjects for the famous Spitzer study of ex-gays. Tens of thousands of individuals who have been involved in reparative therapy or transformational ministries had to be canvassed before a few dozen were found who claim to have changed their sexual orientation.
Most religious and social liberals agree that same-sex behavior is as appropriate for homosexuals and bisexuals as opposite behavior is appropriate for heterosexuals. That is, both have the potential to be sinful, but are acceptable in many situations.
There is no constitutional right to homosexual behavior or cross-dressing as stated in this bill. Some see a 'right to privacy' in the Constitution, which is not one of its amendments. But even that wouldn’t cover what’s being proposed. This bill is an attempt at installing a very public declaration and public affirmation of verifiably high risk practices and, if engaged in at all, private matters."
The U.S. Supreme Court has traditionally interpreted the U.S. Constitution as providing a right to privacy.
Their reference to "high risk practices" appears to refer to anal intercourse. However, lesbians and many gays do not engage in this practice.
Judging by the relatively low level of STDs among lesbians, it can be opposite-sex sexual behavior that places a person higher risk.