A family in Michigan is speaking out after their daughter, a high school junior, was banned from writing a paper in favor of same-sex marriage for an honors English class where the assignment was to “take a stand” on an issue of great cultural importance.
The teacher, whose name the school district will not release, first said the topic was too controversial and might offend some students. She then confessed she did not want to read or hear about marriage equality, according to MLive and The Advocate.
17-year-old Destiny McDermitt said she wanted to write her paper, which would also be read as a speech, on same-sex marriage because her mothers are married. Angela McDermitt-Jackson and Chris Jackson married in 2015 just months before the U.S. Supreme Court found same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities to marriage as their different-sex peers.
The assignment sounds bold, but the teacher made sure it could not be.
“For every generation in every country, every day, there are issues upon which an individual can take a stand,” the assignment description reportedly reads. “This assignment asks you to think about what concerns you in your community, your state, your country, or the world.”
Students were not allowed to choose “anything that is awkward or inappropriate for a school audience.” The topic of abortion was banned, but the school district’s guidance says controversial subjects can have a legitimate place in learning.
Several students wrote letters to school administrators to support their classmate, destiny, and to complain that the teacher said she did not want to read or grade a paper on same-sex marriage.
Destiny has opted to move to a different class with a different teacher.
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Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Make It Easy for Parents to Sue Their Local School if Kids Are ‘Subjected To’ Anything LGBTQ
A Missouri state lawmaker is pushing a bill that would make it easy for parents to sue schools if their children are “subjected to” anything LGBTQ.
Rep. Chuck Basye wants parents to have total control over what their children see in school, even if it’s not part of the curriculum. The bill is in response to a poster a GSA – gay-straight alliance club – put up without getting approval from all the students’ parents.
Basye says the purpose of his legislation “is to give this a little bit of teeth so parents can take action if they feel that they’re not being listened to or their child is subjected to something they don’t agree with,” MissouriNet reports.
“I think the parents have a right to know what is in front of their children in public schools,” Basye told MissouriNet.. “That’s the intent of the bill, nothing more, nothing less.”
The ACLU has weighed in, and says Basye’s bill, HB 1565, goes too far.
“This is not only way too far reaching, but absolutely censorship of essentially livelihoods and existence at all,” Jay-Marie Hill, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, told MissouriNet. Hill says if the bill becomes law teachers could be responsible, and even fired, if they have a guest speaker who says something parents might disagree with.
The bill is clearly framed to focus on “instruction on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.”
And while it says information presented to students must be “medically and factually accurate,” it also mandates that “abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils.”
Abstinence only education has been proven to not work.
Some responses to Rep. Basye’s bill from social media:
— PROMO Missouri (@PROMOMissouri) February 25, 2020
I also take so much issue with this idea that people would be denied opportunities to learn… I was a part of two bible studies that met at my public hs, it didn’t stop me from becoming gay. And I turned around represented the Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Alliance… #HB1565 #moleg
— Stephen Eisele (@stepheneisele) February 25, 2020
I am a cisgender, heterosexual woman and the mom of a (likely) cisgender, heterosexual 5th grader. I want him to have access to inclusive and comprehensive sex education. HB1565 is bad for Missouri students. #moleg
— JennyB (@JenKBernstein) February 25, 2020
Rep Baker says it’s the parents right to opt out of anything regarding the LGBT community if they disagree with it. Ok but whether you “agree with it” or not QUEER PEOPLE EXIST. We are part of history too; you can’t erase an entire community. Call him at 573-751-9781 #hb1565
— Hannah Brashers (@hannahbrashers) February 25, 2020
UPDATE: 4:56 PM –
Rep. Basye’s Democratic challenger, Adrian Plank, calls Basye’s bill “one of the most obviously discriminatory pieces of legislation that I’ve ever seen in Missouri.”
What I find inappropriate is a legislator that spends his time trying to pass bills that uses the power of the government to treat those most vulnerable like they are lesser human beings, or even worse, that they don’t exist. That they shouldn’t be considered worthy of attention. People have real problems that need solved, and this is how he chooses to spend his time.
Image via Facebook
Texas GOP Official Compares LGBTQ Republicans to ‘Murderers and Burglars’ in Unhinged Facebook Rant
Early on Wednesday morning, a Texas Republican Party official took to Facebook to attack the “Log Cabin Republicans,” the GOP’s LGBTQ advocacy arm.
The diatribe, first flagged on Twitter by author and nonprofit director Jessica Shortall, was in reply to a post by former LCR Houston official Marco Antonio Roberts, who was responding to a threat from a member of the State Republican Executive Committee to deny the LCR credentials at the Texas GOP State Convention.
“As a group [LCR] is no longer about an individual participating, but it is an express advocacy group, and the LCR’s unique identity is homosexuality which is in conflict with the principles & platform of the Republican Party,” wrote Sue Evenwel. “The party would also not allow express advocacy groups for murders, burglars, adulterers or fornicators, yet there may be some among us dealing with those issues who are also Republicans working and voting for our candidates.”
Evenwel, the chairwoman of the Titus County Republican Party, is also a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, which is currently grappling with the future of the LCR’s status within the state party.
She is best known for being a lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Evenwel v. Abbott, in which she argued that federal courts should force states to apportion legislative districts using the number of eligible voters, rather than the total population. Such a change would have invalidated nearly all state legislative lines in the country, and forced lawmakers to draw up districts that are overwhelmingly more rural, white, and conservative.
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Evenwel, holding that states are not required to exclude nonvoters from redistricting — but they also did not explicitly prohibit it, potentially leaving the door open for conservative state legislatures to do so after this year’s census.
Image via Facebook
Lawsuit: Judge Refusing to Marry Same-Sex Couples Claims Her Religious Freedom Was Violated When Commission Warned Her
A judge who regularly refuses to perform marriages for same-sex couples is suing a Texas commission that issued a warning to her over her decision to not treat all couples equally. McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley is now suing he State Commission on Judicial Conduct, claiming her religious freedom rights have been violated.
The warning, while public, did not come with any fine nor any severe sanctions or censure, yet Judge Hensley has retained the far right wing anti-LGBTQ Christian activist group with ties to Trump, First Liberty Institute, to represent her in her $10,000 lawsuit for damages. Metro Weekly reports the lawsuit claims a violation of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act “by punishing her for actions that were taken in accordance with her faith.”
The Texas judge isn’t just asking for $10,000. She wants all other judges to have the “right” to discriminate.
“Hensley is also demanding a declaratory judgment that the commission violated her rights, as well as a class-action guarantee that all other justices of the peace will be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples in the same way,” The American Independent reports.
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