Federal legislation aimed at protecting LGBT students from discrimination and bullying was killed this afternoon by Republican Senators.
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For years, Democratic U.S. Senator Al Franken has been trying to pass a bill to protect LGBT students in public schools from discrimination. And for years the bill, known as the Student Nondiscrimination Act, or SENDA, failed to even get voted out of committee.
The two-term junior Senator from Minnesota tried a different approach, today attaching his legislation to a revision of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Not agreed to, 52-45: Franken amendment #2093 to S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act (60-vote affirmative threshold).— Floor Monitor (@SenGOP_Floor) July 14, 2015
Buzzfeed reported that Franken's legislation had 40 cosponsors, including one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois. Franken knew the vote would be "very close," but hoped for passage.
“Kids have these protections for race, national origin, gender and disability,” Franken told Buzzfeed. “We want to extend to LGBT kids the same right that other kids have.”
Bullying of LGBT students is “becoming an epidemic,” he said, citing three boys who committed suicide after they were being harassed by classmates who believed they were gay. “You can’t learn if you are afraid,” he added.
Franken's legislation is amendment #2093 to S1177, aka the "Every Child Achieves Act of 2015."
The Washington Post reports Senator Alexander "urged his colleagues to vote against the amendment, calling it a federal intrusion into matters best handled at the local level."
“There’s no doubt bullying or harassment of children based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is a terrible problem...,” he said. “But the question is, is this best addressed by the local school board or the national school board in Washington D.C.?”
This is a breaking news and developing story and has been updated with the list of how Senators voted (link directly above.)
This article has been updated to correct the name of S1177.