BAY WINDOWS — "Only eight states that have laws to address bullying enumerate based on sexual orientation"
|“Only eight of the 39 states that have laws to address bullying enumerate — or specifically identify — bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited conduct. …In the past several weeks, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Wisconsin have each enacted non-enumerated anti-bullying laws, even though Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender advocates had been pushing for enumerated versions.
…A bill that sought to address bullying in Michigan died in 2008 in the state Senate because senators could not agree on whether to enumerate the categories of victims. A new, non-enumerated version of the bill this year passed the state House on May 12, and now heads back to the Senate. The right-wing American Family Association (AFA) has been actively opposing language that defines bullying as ‘reasonably perceived to be motivated by animus or by an actual or perceived characteristic.’ In an action alert to supporters in early May, the AFA said the Michigan bill would make bullying a ‘thought crime’ and would still define it as ‘motivated by a studentâ€™s â€™characteristics,â€™ including homosexual behavior and cross-dressing.’
…But one of the most high-profile national groups pushing for laws to address the problem of bullying, ‘Bully Police,’ is also one of the key opponents of enumeration. Brenda High, founder of Bully Police, told the New York Daily News in March that she believes that stateâ€™s legislature has repeatedly failed to pass an anti-bullying law because the bill includes language that gives ‘special protection’ to gay children and those with special needs. On its Web site (bullypolice.org), Bully Police explains, ‘Defining victims will slow the process of lawmaking, dividing political parties who will argue over which victims get special rights over other victims. …All children who are bullied are victimized and they ALL need to be protected.’ High founded the group after she lost her son Jared to a bullying-related suicide in 1998. …(High said,) ‘We must teach our children Christian values and ask our schools to teach â€™do unto othersâ€™ values so that all of our children can have a safe and bully-free environment to learn.'”
Anti-bullying measures advance against obstacles