The Michigan state senate voted Wednesday to reject a measure that would protect students from violence committed on the basis of sexual orientation. Opponents of the bill do not object to legislation protecting students on the basis of race or religion; their sole objection is to the protection of gay students from violence.
Democratic Sen. Glenn Anderson said:
It is imperative that we compel public schools to protect students from bullying in the academic environment by adopting a policy to deal with this destructive behavior.
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Anderson’s measure lost on a vote of 21 to 16, according to the Michigan Messenger.
This move by the senate is the second recent example of Michigan officials protecting antigay violence.
In recent months. former ex-gay Patrick McAlvey has come forward to accuse Exodus member activist Mike Jones of sexually accosting him during “ex-gay” therapy sessions. Jones’ ex-gay activist website is hosted by Michigan State University. The university has refused to withdraw its taxpayer-subsidized hosting of Jones’ “Corduroy Stone” website, and both Jones and Exodus president Alan Chambers refuse to respond to the allegations.
Worse, perhaps, than the senators who support antigay bullying are those Republicans who say that protecting any student from bullying is too expensive. According to the Messenger:
[Some] Senate Republicans took a different tact in the floor debate Wednesday. They argued the bill could result in numerous lawsuits against public schools across Michigan.
“[The bill] is written in such a way as to guaruntee lawsuits against employees or the school,” said Sen. Alan Cropsey, a Republican from DeWitt. “This will turn every incident of bullying into a lawsuit, and cost the schools hundreds of millions.”
Schools across the nation are already being sued by parents of battered gay students; the parents accuse school faculty of failing to protect their children. So long as Michigan singles out gay youths and young adults for abuse, the lawsuits in that state are likely to escalate.