Senator Daines Votes against Protecting Bullied LGBTQ Kids

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Today, Senator Daines joined the majority of the Republican caucus in the Senate to block an amendment to the ongoing revision of No Child Left Behind that would have mandated that local school districts protect students from “discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.” The proposal, which Senator Al Franken has been trying to pass for five years, would have extended already existing protections in place for students prohibiting discrimination based on sex, religion or race. An important component of the proposal is that it would have not only prohibited bullying by students, but also discriminatory school policies—something that is still all too real for many students.

The bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students is indisputable. The 2013 National School Climate Survey offers a litany of statistics, some of the most striking including:

  • 55.5% of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37.8% because of their gender expression.
  • 51.4% of students reported hearing homophobic remarks from their teachers or other school staff, and 55.5% of students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from teachers or other school staff.
  • 74.1% of LGBT students were verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55.2% because of their gender expression.

That discrimination and abuse is no doubt partially responsible for LGBTQ kids being twice as likely to attempt suicide.

The argument that these policies are best developed by local school boards ignores the obvious fact that schools most in need of those policies, most likely to have unsupportive or even hostile environments for LGBTQ students, are the least likely to develop them.

No one is naïve enough to believe that a federal law prohibiting discrimination will end it, but it sends an important signal to students that we care when we acknowledge their concerns. Senator Daines apparently doesn’t believe in offering that kind of support to some of our most vulnerable students, a view no doubt influenced by his retrograde views about equality and his refusal to accept that society should not tolerate discrimination.

Senator Tester voted to help protect high school kids from discrimination.

Below is Senator Franken explaining the need for the amendment that Senator Daines would not support:

 

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Rob KaileyRev. Timothy GordishNorma Duffylokywoky Recent comment authors
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lokywoky
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lokywoky

Well Steve Daines is a neanderthal on matters such as this so what do you expect? Apologies to the neanderthals.

Norma Duffy
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Norma Duffy

A guy who hangs out and embodies all that is wrong with Ted Cruz. the man is a follower of old hate and backwards thinking.

Rev. Timothy Gordish
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This trojan horse bill would have institutionalized bullying of Christians who consider such behavior sinful. It is so bad that schools now refrain from using the terms “mother” and “father” to describe parents.

Rob Kailey
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Your god flooded the Earth, destroyed cities with a thought, stopped the world for 3 days, and parted a sea. Why would you think him so small that you need a government to defend your ‘right’ to harass and judge others in his name?

Rev. Timothy Gordish
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Christians are not to judge. That is God’s job, and when he does he won’t be using water. But now we are called to put to death our sinful nature in the mini flood of Baptism, so that people can be saved from God’s wrath against their sin and evil. Maybe you prefer a false god that doesn’t have any qualms with evil? Maybe a god that prefers and revels in evil? Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father… Read more »

Rob Kailey
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Nice sermon. Please save it for your congregation because I haven’t willingly stepped into your building to be talked down to by a zealot. And that’s the point of the question you evaded answering. Your god gave you a commandment and a restriction, preach its word and don’t presume that you have the authority to judge others. However, we live in a country under rule of law, law that says I don’t have to go to your building on Sunday and be talked down to by a zealot. You can preach it, brother. And I can ignore you, make fun… Read more »

Rev. Timothy Gordish
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You said, “Those are rights. Affording protection of right to people subject to emotional, physical and spiritual violence is a matter of law.” This sentence is garbled and I don’t understand it. You said, “Just a thought, but maybe it’s the bullies you should be preaching to instead of the gay sinners who are exactly as your god made them. After all, aren’t those the folk sinning greatest by usurping the authority of your lord against its direct admonition?” Firstly, the gay sinners are the bullies. Look around you! Bible publishers sued. Cake decorators fined. Christian ministers ordered to submit… Read more »

Rob Kailey
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Gordish, you are either a most practiced liar (well, you are a “holy” man and all), or you are supremely ignorant. ‘Right’ is a matter of law. If you find that garbled, you are lying or an idiot. The bakery was not fined because they refused to bake a cake, but because they doxxed the couple who ordered one and their children, encouraging Christian bullying. In case you don’t know what doxxing is, that’s releasing the hounds of your loving god by posting personal information on the Internet, such that the sinners and their children can be threatened with rape… Read more »

Rob Kailey
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Then again, maybe you should be thanking me. Think of the sermon you’ll get out of convincing your flock that the wolves are out there with pesky facts and such, and if only they’ll give more, your loving and powerful god will protect their bigotry, your lies and all y’alls ignorance. Then those collections plates pass around. K’ching!

You’re welcome. Happy to help.

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