School "Sexual Orientation" Bill Passes House Vote
Special Report - June 23, 2009
A bill to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in a school bullying bill has passed the North Carolina House by a vote of 59 to 57 and will be on the calendar for a final vote on Tuesday, June 23. House Speaker Joe Hackney (DOrange) took a personal interest in SB526School Violence Prevention Act, sponsored by Sen. Julia Boseman (DNew Hanover), as he conferred with a legislative aid on the dias numerous times during the debate and prior to the vote on the bill. An earlier amendment by Rep. Jonathan Rhyne (RLinclon) to send the bill back to the House Education Committee failed by a vote of 57 to 59.
Republicans pointed out that the bill had been passed by the Senate with an unusually long title which prevented substantive amendments from being offered on the floor of the House. Last session on a similar bill, an amendment to remove a sentence in the bill that included "sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression" was offered and failed the House by two votes. Since the title of SB 526 could only be amended in committee, Rep. Rhyne argued the bill should be sent back to the Education Committee because the chairman of the committee refused to allow any amendments to be offered during committee consideration of the bill.
Several speakers said there was complete agreement on the point that no member of the House wanted bullying on the school grounds. Rep. Rick Glazier (DCumberland) argued that a section of the bill enumerating the kinds of characteristics potential victims might have, including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" was crucial to the bill. Rep. Paul Stam (RWake) argued the enumerations section actually weakened the bill as some children would be pointed out to receive more consideration or protection. Republicans emphasized that all children should receive equal protection. Rep. Nelson Dollar (RWake) told members that Brenda High, a mom who had started a nationwide movement to pass anti-bullying bills in vairous states was against including an enumerations section. Rep. John Blust (RGuilford) argued that the bill had no teeth because there were no penalties proscribed against a bully or against a teacher who saw bullying taking place and did nothing to stop it.
Numerous other points were made about the bill, but in the end, as Rep. Glazier pointed out, there was disagreement over the terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" being included in the bill. Rep. Stam made reference to the damage these terms had in a similar bullying bill in Iowa, as the State Supreme Court there argued that the Iowa legislature had already recognized a class of "sexual orientation" and used the legislatures action as part of their justification to mandate same sex "marriage."
"The inclusion of the terms 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' in this bill will open the doors of our public schools to all kinds of teaching on homosexual themes," said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. "We have not seen any states that have included this language that have seen a reduction in bullying relative to states without the enumerations section. This seems to be an emotional issue for many who say they want equal protection for all children but fail to see that the real victims will be innocent children who are introduced to homosexual concepts at an early age."
Link to a PDF version of the 2nd Reading Vote on SB526
Link to the House archive of the House session of June 22, 2009
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.