Stop Intolerance, Says Education Sec. Arne Duncane, Except When Team Obama Embraces It

The office of Kevin Jennings’ boss Arne Duncane, the education secretary, got around to putting out a statement today, which goes like this: “This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear. This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.” And then the Obama administration went ahead and continued intolerance against gay soldiers in the military, completely undermining the White House’s credibility.

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  • missanthrope

    Avalanche of Obamabots crying in their beer in 3,2……

  • SteamPunk

    @missanthrope: Cry about what? The sad cynicism of this article?

    I’d say the Education Secretary releasing a statement about gay bullying is a great thing! Queerty’s attempt to connect Arne Duncan to DADT is quite a stretch.

  • robert in nyc

    To add another dimension to this….Obama believes that gays should only have civil unions at the federal level, legal segregation. In the minds of homophobes, that sends a direct signal that we’re treated differently and our relationships of less importance or significance than the majority, reinforcing minority status, the last group that its ok to hate and discriminate against ad infinitum. Result….bullying! Thanks, Obama, but no thanks…to you!

  • jason

    Obama is going to be a one-term President thanks partly to his betrayal of the GLBT community. He’ll either resign due to massive unpopularity or he’ll be beaten in the primaries by another candidate.

    As for Duncane’s words on bullying of gay people, well, thanks for nothing. What are words actually going to achieve? A government should be pro-actively seeking ways of legislating to protect kids from the homophobic bullies. I have seen virtually nothing in the way of “fierce advocacy” on the part of the Obama lack-of-administration.

  • Flipper

    @SteamPunk: Tying it to DADT is not at all a stretch. The administration rightly released Duncan’s statement against anti-gay bullying, a position it needs to hold and advocate. However, it’s hard to take the administration seriously when, out of the other side of its mouth, it tells those same young gays that, while they should not have to be bullied, they still are not worthy of serving in the military (or of getting married, for that matter). It’s hard for a gay person of any age to believe that the administration really cares when it continues to support policies that remind us that we are not equal citizens in this country.

  • [email protected]

    Way to go, Anne! One wonders if this is the reason for Maggie Gallagher’s likely insincere message to Gay kids… After all, her partner in crime, Brian Browne, has advocated for “aversion therapy”, which is psychologically harmful and further sends the message that it’s not okay to be Gay!

  • whatever

    @missanthrope: Nah, it will be funnier to see all the Hilltards saying that the she will be the nominee in 2012.

  • southpaugh

    Are you for real? However disappointed you are with timing, semantics, political parsing and inaction, you really are gonna vote for the oppostion? You think you’ll get even as much as lip service from the Right? Cut your nose to spite your face much?
    When you complain, unless you’re able to offer a workable, reality based alternative, all you’re doing is whigning. A little less noise there!

  • J. Clarence

    Yeah, Obama’s continuation of enforcing DADT indirectly aides the side of anti-gay social conservatives, but I think it’s a bit far fetched to suggest that what the education secretary said is mute and void solely because of that fact. Especially because the majority of Americans want the policy (DADT) overturned and the president publicly acknowledge that he believes it is a bad policy anyway, so it is not as if there is an apparent contradiction in terms of rhetoric and policy stance.

    On the merits of the speech by Sec. Duncan itself, I think it’s great that an Education Secretary would take such a forceful position, hopefully (though I don’t have my finger crossed as Duncan has enough to deal with) he can follow it up with some actions, perhaps partnering with gay-teen advocacy groups or doing a bit more research into anti-gay bullying.

    Also, Jason at Comment 4, don’t be ridiculous. While Obama may have lost some face with his liberal base, and has pushed away (center-right) independents he is largely still popular with the moderate base of his party and ideological camp. And if Obama is tossed away in the 2012 election cycle (which in itself is unlikely) he is only going to be replaced with someone more right of center and moderate than progressive, which ultimately means less inclination to support gay rights causes.

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