A Kentucky House committee “overwhelmingly approved” HB 370, a measure that prohibits any bullying based on sexual orientation, race or religion. But religious Republican lawmaker Mike Harmon would like to add an amendment that would “allow students to condemn other student’s sexual preferences as long as that expression of a religious belief does not include physical harm.” He is also pushing an amendment that would it make it legal to carry a concealed weapon on school grounds.
This should go well.
First, let’s look at that word “condemn.” It’s a verb that means:
1. To express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure.
2. To sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, esp. death: “the rebels had been condemned to death”.
So Harmon wants to give students the right to publicly express “complete disapproval” of LGBT kids—or does he want them to be able to sentence queer youth to an eternity burning in Hell’s lake of fire?
“If someone, just in conversation, said, ‘You know, I think homosexuality is a sin,’ well, we don’t want that child to be bullied because they have a certain moral or religious belief,” Harmon told WHAS 11 . “And we… certainly don’t want them to be labeled a bully just because they have that particular belief.”
Homophobes— the last great oppressed minority.
Furthermore, Harmon says Kentucky doesn’t need anti-bullying laws because schools already have guidelines against bullying. (Of course his wording would religious bigots from being bullied for their hateful beliefs.)
Even though Harmon’s amendment is cynical poppycock, is he right that we don’t need additional legislation? It’s an important question to explore, especially since the this is the same line of reasoning used by the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
Equality groups say that without specific hate-crime laws and anti-bullying guidelines, police and school officials tend to overlook such attacks or spend resources merely on the symptom instead of the root cause. Hate-crime and anti-bullying laws require additional training—especially when dealing with attacks on LGBT youth, which often bring a unique set of circumstances.
Maybe we don’t actually need laws specifically forbidding such attacks, but rather just better LGBT-inclusive training for police officers and teachers. And maybe some duck-and-cover techniques for students.