Two Iowa state representatives have introduced legislation that would strip gay and transgender students of the anti-bullying protections afforded to other students.
The bill seeks to amend a 2007 law that was passed to protect students from bullying and discrimination, so that it would no longer be illegal to harass students on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
This hateful piece of legislation is, not surprisingly, related to Iowa’s recent legalization of gay marriage. Because the Iowa Supreme Court invoked the Safe School Law in its decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the bill’s authors, Reps. Jason Schultz and Matt Windchitl, hoped their bill could help overturn that decision. By attempting to deny LGBT youth equal protections, Schultz and Windchitl hoped to force lawmakers to debate same-sex marriage.
Right. Telling students, “Go on, beat up the gays,” is really going to instill family values in our children….
Considering that 16 percent of Iowa’s LGBT youth already report having been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation, and that bullying plays a role in the suicides of many LGBT youth, the Schultz/Windchitl bill is an unconscionable political move that plays with students’ lives.
Fortunately, their ploy did not work, as the Iowa legislature just voted against considering a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage at this time. Hopefully, Schultz and Windchitl will consequently drop their cruel maneuver.