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  • Did Your US Senator Just Vote To Allow LGBT Students To Be Bullied? Here's The List.

    Discrimination and bullying are emotionally and physically harmful, and can lead to death. The U.S. Senate today had a chance to literally save lives of LGBT students, and almost all of the Republicans chose not to.

    In September of 2010, the nation was stunned by what the media called a "rash" of LGBTQ student suicides resulting from bullying. At the time, the mainstream media reported there had been five bullying-related LGBT teen suicides, but NCRM counted at least ten that month. Some of the names you probably remember: Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, to name a few. 

    September of course is the height of the back-to school season, and back-to-school for too many LGBTQ students can mean back-to-being-bullied. 

    Since 2010 the nation in many respects has changed dramatically. LGBT people are, overall, far more accepted. Gay people can serve openly in the military, marry, and generally live a life somewhat reduced of discrimination and bullying.


    Kids, however, still have far less protections than adults, and with social media and constant access to the Internet, the bullying can be, literally, 24/7. For them, in many cases, it hasn't gotten better.

    That's why LGBTQ students need protection from discrimination and bullying.

    Al Franken, a Democratic US Senator from Minnesota, yesterday delivered a powerful address to his colleagues about anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination. That's him above, standing next to a photo of Seth Walsh, a gay teen, one of the too many who in September of 2010 succumbed to suicide after relentless bullying. 

    “By seventh grade, taunts and verbal abuse were a constant part of Seth’s day,” Franken told his fellow Senators. “Students called him faggot and queer. He was afraid to use the restroom or to be in the boys’ locker room before gym class.” 

    “And in September of 2010, Seth hanged himself from a tree in his family’s backyard,” Franken announced. “He was 13. Seth left a note expressing his love for family and friends but also his anger at the school.”

    “This amendment would simply provide LGBT kids with the same legal remedies available to other kids under our federal civil rights laws,” Franken said.

    “If a black child was referred to by a racial slur at school, would we say kids will be kids?” Sen. Franken asked his colleagues yesterday. “If a Jewish student got beat up because he wore a yarmulke to school, would we wave it off and say boys will be boys? If a shop teacher told a female student she didn’t belong in his class, would we be fine if the school just looked the other way? No, we would not. In fact, there are federal civil rights laws that are specifically designed to stop this kind of conduct.”

    Sen. Franken offered his colleagues an opportunity today to help reduce bullying against LGBTQ youth in public schools, by voting for a bill to "end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools."

    LOOK: Breaking: Republican US Senators Kill LGBT Students' Anti-Bullying Bill

    They said, in response to helping save lives of LGBTQ students, "no."

    Literally, 45 Republicans – and only Republicans – all voted to let LGBTQ kids continue to be bullied and discriminated against in our nation's school. Six Republican Senators did cross the aisle to vote for Sen. Franken's legislation, an amendment attached to a bill updating No Child Left Behind – an appropriate gesture, in fact, but eight more Republicans were needed to bring to vote to 60 "yeas."

    The Washington Post credits Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander with leading the charge against Sen. Franken's SENDA legislation, the Student Nondiscrimination Act, claiming it would lead to “costly lawsuits.”

    Apparently, fear of possible lawsuits outweighs Senator Alexander's concern about the actual emotional and physical harm being visited upon LGBTQ youth.

    Here's the list of all U.S. Senators who this afternoon voted to allow our nation's LGBTQ youth to continue to be bullied – these are the NAY's. You'll notice that each NAY is from a Republican Senator, headed by Sen. Alexander:

    Alexander (R-TN)
    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Blunt (R-MO)
    Boozman (R-AR)
    Burr (R-NC)
    Capito (R-WV)
    Cassidy (R-LA)
    Coats (R-IN)
    Cochran (R-MS)
    Corker (R-TN)
    Cornyn (R-TX)
    Cotton (R-AR)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    Cruz (R-TX)
    Daines (R-MT)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Ernst (R-IA)
    Fischer (R-NE)
    Flake (R-AZ)
    Gardner (R-CO)
    Grassley (R-IA)
    Hatch (R-UT)
    Hoeven (R-ND)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Isakson (R-GA)
    Lankford (R-OK)
    Lee (R-UT)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    McConnell (R-KY)
    Moran (R-KS)
    Paul (R-KY)
    Perdue (R-GA)
    Risch (R-ID)
    Roberts (R-KS)
    Rounds (R-SD)
    Sasse (R-NE)
    Scott (R-SC)
    Sessions (R-AL)
    Shelby (R-AL)
    Sullivan (R-AK)
    Thune (R-SD)
    Tillis (R-NC)
    Toomey (R-PA)
    Vitter (R-LA)
    Wicker (R-MS)

    Here's the list of all the US Senators who voted to help protect LGBTQ youth from bullying – these are the YEAs:

    Ayotte (R-NH)
    Baldwin (D-WI)
    Bennet (D-CO)
    Blumenthal (D-CT)
    Booker (D-NJ)
    Boxer (D-CA)
    Brown (D-OH)
    Cantwell (D-WA)
    Cardin (D-MD)
    Carper (D-DE)
    Casey (D-PA)
    Collins (R-ME)
    Coons (D-DE)
    Donnelly (D-IN)
    Durbin (D-IL)
    Feinstein (D-CA)
    Franken (D-MN)
    Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Heinrich (D-NM)
    Heitkamp (D-ND)
    Heller (R-NV)
    Hirono (D-HI)
    Johnson (R-WI)
    Kaine (D-VA)
    King (I-ME)
    Kirk (R-IL)
    Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Leahy (D-VT)
    Manchin (D-WV)
    Markey (D-MA)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    Menendez (D-NJ)
    Merkley (D-OR)
    Mikulski (D-MD)
    Murkowski (R-AK)
    Murphy (D-CT)
    Murray (D-WA)
    Peters (D-MI)
    Portman (R-OH)
    Reed (D-RI)
    Reid (D-NV)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Schatz (D-HI)
    Schumer (D-NY)
    Shaheen (D-NH)
    Stabenow (D-MI)
    Tester (D-MT)
    Udall (D-NM)
    Warner (D-VA)
    Warren (D-MA)
    Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Wyden (D-OR)

    Not voting were U.S. Republican Senators and 2016 presidential candidates Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. Also not voting was U.S. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who has been out after undergoing cancer surgery Monday.

    You can also see the full list at Congress.gov.

    You can and should contact your U.S. Senator to let them know how you feel about their vote. If they voted yes, thank them and urge them to vote yes again. If they voted no, please explain to them why their vote literally is putting children in harm's way.

    You can also tweet your Senators, or look them up on Facebook.


    Image: Screenshot via UpTakeVideo/YouTube

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    Showing 38 comments

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    • commented 2016-01-19 11:27:13 -0500
      I am so happy and proud to say that both Ohio senators voted for this, and against bullying and worse.

    • commented 2015-12-06 15:16:48 -0500

    • commented 2015-12-06 15:16:01 -0500
      There are laws already on the books. This was just a bullshit vote …..


    • commented 2015-07-17 04:36:01 -0400
      Had Blondie (Rubio) been there, instead of on the campaign trail, you can be sure his would be a “Nay” vote as well. Blondie is a real bastard and doesn’t believe in the US Constitution.

    • commented 2015-07-16 19:14:08 -0400
      I wonder how precious Lindsey Graham would have voted, if he had bothered to do so?

    • commented 2015-07-16 19:12:41 -0400
      So, while David Vitter is out screwing his whores, little kids are offing themselves because of losers bullying them for their orientation. Vitter is a vile piece of excrement. Family values my ass. Vitter, I hope you crash your car into a tree, and I hope the tree survives.

    • commented 2015-07-16 18:51:14 -0400
      Glad to hear that, Danny. I wish it were true everywhere. It’s most certainly not true here in Minnesota, where the Southern Poverty Law Center had to take on the schools and Family Coalition in a lawsuit to just get the district’s “neutrality” policy changed. The fact is, your state is ahead of the curve, but not all states are. What I find disturbing is that there already IS a federal bullying statute that includes protection for virtually every class EXCEPT sexual orientation. This isn’t a huge leap, it’s revising an existing law to protect LGBT kids.

      Not all Republicans voted against this bill. Some have hearts. But many that didn’t are the hyper Conservative, religious right that feel that homosexuality is a sin and they refuse to accept any legislation that supports, promotes, or protects the LGBT community. I don’t know what the heck they’re thinking. At the very least it’s irresponsible to not protect our children in public schools. At the worst, I think they want to keep their heads buried in the sand and pretend this “problem” doesn’t exist. After all, LGBT is somehow violating their religious feeedoms….

      I’m glad to hear the you were planning to write your Senator. It shows a wealth of compassion that you’d take time from your day to make your voice heard. I’m also glad that NC has protection in place for all kids. If only that were the case everywhere, we wouldn’t have needed Franken’s SDNA Bill.

      Best to you, sir.

    • commented 2015-07-16 18:45:57 -0400

      I don’t think all the states have the same as your NC law, hence the need for federal protections. Same went with same sex marriage and decriminalisation of homosexuality and overturning of the anti-miscegenation laws. There are some states that will NEVER enact these reforms without a nudge from federal government.

      Unfortunately, we have a Republican Congress that is implacably hostile to LGBT equality. They still believe you can pray away the gay and that you can bash the gay out of kids. Also, they know that LGBT will never vote Republican and so the high suicide rate caused by bullying suits their gerrymandering mindset.

    • commented 2015-07-16 18:36:14 -0400
      NC already has an anti-bullying law which includes bullying based on gender identity and sexual orientation (among everything else I could think of). Why bother with another bill? I get that many of you might think it IS a matter for the federal government, but then talk about THAT, don’t say that republicans want to protect the bullies… that’s skewed and ludicrously untrue.

      Granted, I can’t say that it is true for every state, but I at least stand by my senators’ decision on this one.

      By the way, I was writing an angry email to my senators about their decision when I did the research and found out we already have legislation for it. So please believe me when I am also vehemently opposed to the allowance of bullying based on LGBT related circumstances, but it appears as though we’ve already got it covered.

    • commented 2015-07-16 17:01:54 -0400
      missing an e in congress.gov

    • commented 2015-07-16 14:20:20 -0400
      Derek, I think Michele was posting the verbiage of the proposed bill that was struck down in the Senate. Franken’s bill was SNDA, which is what is posted below. You are right that it was intended specifically for public schools (taxpayer funded). None of that really matters, however, since the Reoublicans killed it. Now there is no verbiage in the law that protects kids on the basis of their orientation.

    • commented 2015-07-16 13:46:28 -0400

      Thanks for that information. However, that applies only to government schools, not to private religious schools, and none of it applies if religious belief motivates the action of the bully.

    • commented 2015-07-16 13:39:48 -0400
      Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2015
      Prohibits public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates.
      Considers harassment to be a form of discrimination.
      Prohibits retaliation against anyone for opposing conduct made unlawful under this Act.
      Authorizes federal departments and agencies to enforce these prohibitions by cutting off the educational assistance of recipients found to be violating them.
      Allows an aggrieved individual to assert a violation of this Act in a judicial proceeding and recover reasonable attorney’s fees should they prevail.
      Authorizes the Attorney General to institute a civil action in any appropriate U.S. district court for a violation of this Act.
      Deems a state’s receipt of federal educational assistance for a program to constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity for conduct prohibited under this Act regarding such program.

    • commented 2015-07-16 00:43:49 -0400
      Created an infographic that visually summarizes your article:

    • commented 2015-07-15 21:47:36 -0400
      This makes me sick. Adam, I would agree with your statement- HOWEVER, LGBT kids are now the only class of kids NOT included in this already existing law. Disabled? Protected. Muslim? Protected. Jewish? Yep. Asian? Protected. Female? Protected. If you’re gay? Nope. There were two ways to fix this- do precisely what you said and say- it is against the law to bully any kid for any reason, OR, they add the LGBT language to the existing law. Simple.

      All kids deserve the right to feel safe in public school and be able to get an education. We all pay our tax dollars for the school system, and my kid should have equal protection as yours. But they don’t. Franken was trying to change that.

      Do you know that more than 50% of LGBT kids say they’ve been physically bullied? How about that more than a QUARTER of them wind up dropping out of school altogether. That’s horrifying..

      What’s worse, these Republicans almost certainly did this out of spite for the gay marriage ruling a few weeks ago. That’s absolute BS, and I think every single one of them that decided not to protect all of our kids equally under the law from bullying should be fired.

    • commented 2015-07-15 21:21:29 -0400
      Wait, so we’re selecting certain groups to protect via a federal law? I think that bullying and tormenting any kid in school should quite literally be a blanket set of rules and punishment. So no, I don’t think Jewish or gay kids need special protection. I think it’s ridiculous that people think this was a good idea.

    • commented 2015-07-15 20:16:47 -0400
      The states increasing their number of hate crimes while education plummets and youth desert these miserable states are not only in the Deep South, but also such hate-filled states as Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, and the Dakota. Iowa, sadly, is the most culpable worthless state in the Union with both of its senators, borderline mental cases, and all but one Congressional representative who open reject human rights and civil liberties for their constituents, follow the path of evangelical extremists and wish for a theocracy to conquer this nation. Joni Ernst, who spent her 15 minutes of fame countering Obama’s State of the Union, waxed warm on wearing bread bags in the winter (most Iowa children did, and she is from a wealth pig farmer family where she desexed male hogs) and the need for more conservatism and war in the Middle East..

    • commented 2015-07-15 20:12:46 -0400
      If there was inappropriate wording I’m sure the GOP would have been very vocal. The only comment mentioned was an increase in lawsuits.

    • commented 2015-07-15 19:54:36 -0400
      I would like to see how the entire bill is worded. To say these mean old Republicans want bullying to continue throwsup a red flag for me. Let’s see how it is actually worded. No where does it list the legislation number. So I will reserve judgement until I can review what was ACTUALLY voted on.

    • commented 2015-07-15 18:50:47 -0400
      …and THIS is WHY I as an OUT, Married Gay man I will NOT associate with Gay republicans……!!!

    • commented 2015-07-15 18:50:12 -0400
      …and THIS is WHY I as an OUT, Married Gay man will NOT associate with Gay republicans……!!!

    • commented 2015-07-15 18:27:03 -0400
      Of course that fuckin douche bag piece of shit Ted Cruz took his typical conservative stance.

    • commented 2015-07-15 17:06:56 -0400
      I am 47 yrs old. I was bullied everyday throughout school. I hated gym. I hated walking down any hallway near the athletic area of the school. I had “those” bad thoughts from time to time, but I was one of the strong ones and I am still here today. But being bullied is an everlasting thing…at least for me. I think schools AND our government need to set kids up for success not devastation. This bill hurts no one….really. It does help those kids that could potentially be scarred for life. Shame on our politicians who are voting against a “no brainer”. Maybe THEY have no brains???
      On a side note…. I am very proud of my Senators from my State of Wisconsin as well as my Senators from my home State of Illinois for making the right decision!!!

    • commented 2015-07-15 16:03:08 -0400
      All those senators who voted no are complete faggots. This bill wouldn’t have hurt them in the slightest and could have helped saved lives!

    • commented 2015-07-15 13:46:57 -0400
      Thank you, Senator Franken. LGBT Youth Suicide and Homelessness are hidden epidemics which have been overshadowed by other issues that make the front page. Yes, marriage equality was a great achievement, but now we need to refocus our efforts on advocating for policies and legislation championed by so many, including our friend and ally, Senator Franken.

    • commented 2015-07-15 11:29:51 -0400
      Voting to NOT protect children has to be the most repugnant campaign finance agenda I have ever seen. This one makes me projectile vomit !

    • commented 2015-07-15 10:34:02 -0400
      I really don’t get it. What’s the big deal? It’s not like they are going to have to spend money to make this happen. Are they afraid that they will lose support from their constituents? Is it a moral dilemma? These people are idiots. Unfortunately elected by us. Everyone should have equal rights and protections regardless of our personal beliefs and feelings. What some folks haven’t realized is that the world has changed yet they still feel the need to run it like it was 10, 20 or 30 years or more ago. We are all the same, regardless of religion, color, gender identification or sexual orientation, and should all have the same equal rights. Any of the above that voted no. they suck.

    • commented 2015-07-15 09:28:07 -0400
      And some of the senstory are running for president. Lets hopen non of them get elected. Oh Ron Paul hippocrite..he promotes live and let live…unless your not a white heterosexual male.

    • commented 2015-07-15 01:11:00 -0400
      You can generally count on republicans stand tall and proud for anything hateful. What a legacy. I bet they all go to church too…. “as you do to the least of these…” A cowardly act by cowardly souless tea party toadies.

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