This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
According to FOXNews.com - February 22, 2010 (full article available on-line)
A bill in Congress that would prohibit discrimination in public schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity could stifle free speech and even lead to "homosexual indoctrination" in the nation's classrooms, critics say.
The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), or H.R. 4530, was introduced late last month by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, with 60 co-sponsors. Polis, the first openly gay man elected to the House as a non-incumbent, said the legislation will put lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students on "equal footing" with their peers, much as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did for minorities and Title IX did for women.
But some critics say the bill, if passed, could lead to murky definitions of harassment and provide a universal approach to the nation's public schools despite regional differences on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.
"That's a violation of those kids who want to express opposition to LGBT opinions or behavior. People have a legitimate reason to be concerned about this -- not because they're 'haters' but because you're now trying to balance different rights."
"It seems pretty consistent with Kevin Jennings being appointed in the Obama administration," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit public interest law firm, referring to the controversial founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network who now serves as the assistant deputy secretary for the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
"When [Jennings] founded GLSEN, his idea of a safe school was one that pushed a radical homosexual agenda by even encouraging first and second-graders to engage in homosexual activity," Staver said. "So I think that's the impetus behind this bill. We have an administration that wants to push a radical social agenda."
Federal civil rights statutes explicitly address discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability and national origin, but they do not include "sexual orientation" or gender identity. "As a result, students and parents have often had limited legal recourse to redress for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity," the bill continues.
H.R. 4530 is closely modeled after Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex. It contains the threat of loss of federal funding for non-compliant schools and says that no state may be immune under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution from suit in federal court for violating the Act.
If this is passed," McCluskey said, "it's going to almost certainly in some places be interpreted far too broadly, and free-speech rights will be trampled."
Numerous liberal-leaning groups -- including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign and GLSEN -- quickly applauded the legislation when it was introduced.
But critics say enacting federal law is not the solution. Matthew Ladner, vice president of research at the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based government watchdog group, agreed that discrimination of any kind is a "bad thing," but he questioned whether federal law will resolve differences of opinion regarding LGBT rights.
"Those kinds of conflicts are not resolvable by a federal mandate," he said. "The question is, is there a one-size-fits-all policy for every school in the country on this? It's more appropriate to settle it on the state and local level. Some states would be far more in favor of this than others."
Federal control of “education” vs. the Constitution
The US Constitution; 10th amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
We the People:
These people are advocating laws which are outside of the Constitutional authority for the federal government, and they are actively undermining our state resident’s the right to make decisions for our schools. This bill is still being considered according to govtrack.us. Who do you trust; your neighbors, or the distant federal central planners? Call your congressman with your answer.