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This is important- I want all LGBT persons to have rights (well, we do, we’re just being denied them), but the policies and such created to protect us from violence and threats ect. should not deny other’s right to free speech at the same time. I’m glad the ACLU brought the first case to court, and now this one too. Even though I do not agree with the religious group involved at all, they have rights too! (Unfortunatly..;) )
ACLU Tells Federal Court It Can Protect Both Gay Students and Free Speech (7/25/2007)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CINCINNATI – The American Civil Liberties Union today told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that a school policy designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students from harassment went too far in squelching the right of some religious students to express their views on homosexuality. The group insists, however, that schools can protect students from anti-gay harassment constitutionally.
“We’ve always believed that it’s entirely possible for schools to enact policies that keep gay and lesbian students safe while still respecting the First Amendment rights of students who hold anti-gay beliefs, said Sharon McGowan, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s national Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. “There’s a huge difference between telling students that they shouldn’t harass or attack others and censorship. Schools have a constitutional obligation to respect all students’ right to be and express themselves.”
The anti-harassment policy was implemented as part of the settlement in a lawsuit the ACLU brought on behalf of Fugett and several other students who were prevented from forming a GSA club at the Ashland, Kentucky high school. The school district agreed to implement a training and policy in 2004 after a federal judge found that there was a widespread problem with anti-gay harassment in the school, including one incident in which students in an English class stated that they needed to “take all the fucking faggots out in the back woods and kill them.”
Present at the courthouse were three of the students who first requested to form a gay-straight alliance club to counter rampant anti-gay harassment at the school in March of 2002. “We wanted to be here for the hearing because we want to remind people what this whole thing is all about,” said Libby Fugett, a former Boyd County High School GSA founding member who is now a college sophomore with plans to attend law school. “Harassment against gay students and their friends is a huge problem at Boyd County High School, and we want the court to remember that all students need to feel safe at school.”
Morrison v. Boyd County Board of Education was brought in 2005 by an anti-gay legal organization, which claimed that the training and policy violated the religious freedom and free speech rights of students who are opposed to it. The ACLU, representing former student plaintiffs in its original case, joined the lawsuit to help defend the school’s ability to conduct the training and to support all students’ free speech rights.
Some parts of the case have already been resolved, with school officials altering the training and policy to better protect students’ First Amendment rights. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit now must consider only whether the original anti-harassment policy went too far. While the ACLU agrees that the original policy overstepped students’ First Amendment protections, the ACLU is asking the court to find that it is possible for the school to adopt an anti-harassment policy that also protects students’ right to free speech.
The case is Timothy Allen Morrison, II, et al., v. Board of Education of Boyd County, Kentucky. The former GSA students are represented by Sharon McGowan and Ken Choe of the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, and David Friedman and Bill Sharp of the ACLU of Kentucky.
“The radical homosexual lobby has done a masterful job of infiltrating our government schools to gain control of the minds of our youth. Their propaganda tactics are time-tested,” Barber said. (Matt Barber is the Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Policy Director for Cultural Issues)
YESSSS WE’VE DONE OUR JOB! KEEP IT UP!!! KEEP THOSE BRAINWASHING TACTICS GOING!!!
Let me know if you haven’t received the newest, updated version of The Homosexual Agenda, my e-mail is homoupdates AT yahoo.com. I’ll personally make sure you’re added to the mailing list and receive Version 7.3
I just returned from the Board of Education meeting where they APPROVED a proposed health benefits package for Baltimore County Public School employees that will cover both same-sex and opposite-sex couples!! It’s one more step forward, people! The following article is from MAY 24, and is outdated, since the contracts are NO LONGER at risk.
School contracts at risk
Unions weigh rejecting pacts after Balto. Co. drops partner benefits
By Gina Davis
Originally published May 24, 2007
A surprise decision by the Baltimore County school board to strip domestic partner benefits from recently negotiated labor contracts threatens to upend the tentative settlement – and runs counter to a national trend of more employers offering medical coverage to unmarried couples.
The board’s move Tuesday night stunned union leaders, who say they had been led to believe that this was the year that the county school system would join other large employers in offering the coverage.
“This is not the first time we have brought this to the board and it seemed to be supported during the process,” Lisa Norrington, a teacher at Patapsco High School who serves on the teachers union board of directors, said yesterday.
Now the tentative agreements seem in danger of collapsing, union leaders said. Norrington said she had received about 30 e-mails by early afternoon yesterday from members who recommended that the system’s five unions reject the board’s approved package, which includes an average 4 percent raise for about 13,000 workers.
“People are saying we should not vote on a contract that doesn’t have a domestic partner benefit,” she said.
School board President Donald L. Arnold said that the panel eliminated the provision because the language in the agreement specified that it would cover same-sex partners, but did not mention opposite-sex partners.
“It’s very simple,” he said last night. “The cost is not the holdup. The issue is equity.”
He said the unions could resubmit their proposals with language covering opposite-sex partners for a board vote but that he could not ensure such a proposal would be approved.
Cheryl Bost, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said union negotiators have consistently said that the provision could apply to opposite-sex unmarried partners.
Arnold said last night that the school system is assessing the cost of providing benefits to domestic partners.
Bost said, “I’m hoping I can take them at face value that they’re looking at the cost and not just stalling to get this to go away.”
Among school systems in the metropolitan region, Baltimore City schools offer domestic partner benefits to all employees. Howard County offers them only to same-sex partners, while Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Carroll counties don’t offer them at all.
The Baltimore County school board’s action comes as more employers across the nation are extending medical coverage to unmarried partners, research shows. The benefit is a low-cost way to attract and keep qualified workers while fostering a diverse workplace, studies have found.
In its 2006 benefits survey, the Society of Human Resources Management found that 42 percent of the nearly 400 companies that responded to their questionnaire offered some form of domestic partner benefits. That group found that employer participation in such benefits had increased over a five-year span.
In addition, the survey indicated that for the second consecutive year, the number of employers offering the benefit to all unmarried couples was comparable to the number offering it to same-sex partners.
To qualify for such benefits domestic partners must be responsible for each other’s well-being, generally meaning that they must have lived together for at least a year and must share financial responsibilities, said Ken McDonnell, program director for the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
A Society of Human Resources Management and Commerce Clearing House survey in 1999 found domestic partnership coverage to be one of the top three benefits sought by employees.
McDonnell said much has changed since the late 1980s when employers worried that their health-care costs would skyrocket because of AIDS-related care for what they thought would be mostly gay workers and their partners under the domestic partner coverage.
He said those employers who offer the benefit to only same-sex couples tend to experience low participation, mostly because there aren’t as many gay workers as heterosexual staff, and both partners in gay couples tend to have their own coverage.
For most employers, domestic partner benefits add less than 1 percent to their costs, according to a 2005 study conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting firm.
McDonnell said a major shift in attitude came in 1996 when IBM began offering the benefits.
Seeing a huge employer latch onto the idea “gave big legitimacy to it,” he said.
A school system, McDonnell said, might feel conflicted about adding the benefit.
“They might not want to seem to be seen as teaching homosexuality to kids,” he said.
Melanie Nolet, who heads the health and physical education department at Patapsco High School, said she hopes the unions hold fast on the issue.
“The county trains its teachers to create an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity in the classroom and with our students’ families,” said Nolet, who said her partner is a woman on leave from her teaching job at a county school. “If they want to retain highly qualified teachers, we need to be made to feel we’re valued and considered equal in this system.”
Bost said the unions have been pressing for the domestic partner benefit for six years. She said that about a month ago the school system’s negotiators asked the unions to consider changing their proposal – which requested benefits only for same-sex partners – to include coverage for opposite-sex partners.
Union leaders said yesterday they don’t know whether they’ll recommend that their members reject the board’s approved contracts, but they hope to see the provision included in an agreement their members can accept.
BaltimoreSun.com Please note: You can only view the original article with the cache text from Google on (since the article is old).