The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, March 30, 2007

RDO Goes To Washington, Part 1

Thanks to the generosity of fellow LGBT activist Unitarian Saint [I know quite a few Unitarian Saints actually, but they'll have to have different names] I am joining at least 3 other clergy and lay ministers from Michigan at the Human Right Campaign's Clergy Call For Justice and Equality at our nation's capitol to lobby our federal legislature on April 17 regarding hate crimes and workplace discrimination legislation.

I am grateful for the opportunity "to do justice." You'll be reading more about my adventures.

Meanwhile, closer to home here in my state, we have an Anti-bullying bill [Matt's Safe Schools Law] which has successfully passed our state House, but will face stiffer opposition in our state Senate.

This may seem at first glance to be a no-brainer, but it is not the bill itself which is in danger, it is rather a clause that enumerates those who would be protected from bullying. Because that clause includes sexual orientation and gender identity, there are some who want to gut the bill and limit its power by removing the enumeration portion. The enumeration portion also includes such things as religious affiliation, height, weight, sex, race, and "any other distinguishing characteristic", but its opponents are so fearful of being perceived as condoning homosexuality, they are fighting to remove the enumeration clause --which would render the law almost useless.

In the meantime, kids who are bullied because they're queer, fat, Christian, atheist, muslim, goth, wear glasses, wear braces, make straight A's, are failing, are differently abled --or because they are PERCEIVED by their peers to be that way-- become truants, drop out of school, kill themselves or each other because some school districts don't know what to do with bullies and bullying, and don't always train teachers and staff about intervention in these matters. So the State of Michigan requires that students be in school x number of days --but it doesn't address making its schools safe in this key area for its students.

So the school that a youth from one of my congregations attends is not technically required to do anything about the kids who followed him home and tossed him in a dumpster full of stinking garbage one day ... all because he has a certain kind of disability that makes him different from the majority. This must change.


  • At 9:34 AM , Blogger Rainbow Pastor said...

    Hey, RDQ! It's times like these when I really really wish there was some way I could vote in MI.

    Congrats ont he rip to DC--I'll b with you in spirit!

    Keep us postd (har har).


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