Illinois conservatives defeat anti-bullying measure claiming it had a “gay agenda”
In light of homosexuality becoming more accepted in society, there are still those individuals who have a problem with the idea two people of the same sex can love each other. Of the few institutions that still harbor an intense hatred of gays, the most respected is religion, and this has meant the fight for civil rights has been pitted against “religious freedom”. This tactic isn’t new; Southern Baptists were using the same tactic when trying to fight against African Americans being guaranteed the same rights as other citizens through government legislation.
Now the same kind of tactic is being used when talking about the rights of gay to marry, and be protected from abuse and violence. Illinois recently had an opportunity to do the right thing and chose not to do so due to fear and hatred of homosexuality:
The Illinois Senate today turned down a bill that would have encouraged anti-bullying programs in schools, after conservatives argued that such programs could be used as a front to promote homosexuality.
“There are anti-bullying programs that have an agenda, to only protect one class of individuals,”
We’ll ignore the fact gays are disproportionately bullied in schools: there was nothing about the program that singled them out. It was simply a measure meant to try and curb the growing problem of bullying. Fearing homophobic students motivated by religion might be put in a situation exposing their bigotry, the State Assembly chose instead to allow kids to live in terror rather than allow some gay kids to live their lives free of fear and persecution.
The bill could have actually passed, but because a dozen legislators chose to vote “present”‘, it failed. Like the persistence of any prejudice and social injustice, it is those who stand by the sidelines who contribute to the misery. Evil persists when good men and women do nothing, and that’s exactly what these cowards did. It should be a lesson to those of us who choose to say nothing in the face of injustice, ignorance, and bigotry. For every one of these poltroons, two brave men and women must take their place, to drown out the voices of those who oppose the rights of their fellow human beings. Although this battle may be lost, we will never let them win this war.