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As Michigan GOP Passes Bill Allowing Kids to Bully, Democratic Senator Gretchen Whitmer Rips Into Them: VIDEO

Whitmer

Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer yesterday ripped Senate GOP a new one over passage of a "bullying" bill that was gutted so heavily that it actually creates, as Whitmer notes in her speech, "a blueprint for bullying."

Watch Whitmer's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Says Whitmer: "You may be able to pat yourselves on the back today and say that you did something, but in actuality, you're explicitly outlining how to get away with bullying. Your exceptions have swallowed the rule. As passed today, bullying kids is okay if a student, parent, teacher, or school employee can come up with a religious or moral reason for doing it."

The Detroit News reports:

"Matt's Safe School Law" passed 26-11 with all Democrats voting against it. The bill is named for Matt Eppling, an East Lansing 14-year-old who committed suicide after being bullied by classmates in 2002. The law includes a section noting it doesn't abridge First Amendment free speech rights or prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints — a provision Democrats fear could be used to justify harassment of gay, lesbian or transgender students. Democrats tried unsuccessfully to attach an amendment to list characteristics — such as race, gender and sexual preference — that are off-limits for bullying. They said policies that include detailed lists have held up better when challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Whitmer takes aim at the disgusting moves by Republicans:

"Here today you claim to be protecting kids, and you're actually putting them in more danger. There are at least 10 Michigan children in the past decade whose deaths are directly attributable to bullying...Had this bill that you're going to pass today been law in effect while they were alive, how many of their deaths would have been prevented? ZERO!"

She adds:

"So this might solve a political problemn that Republicans have. but be clear. You are papering over the problem that is a reality faced by hundreds of kids in Michigan schools every day. In fact not only does this not protect kids who are bullied. It further endangers them by legitimizing excuses for tormenting a student. And the saddest and sickest irony of this whole thing is that it's called 'Matt's Safe School Law'. And after the way that you've gutted it, it wouldn't have done a damn thing to save Matt!"

"This is worse than doing nothing! It's a Republican license to bully."

Watch Whitmer's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. @Johnny You are right, Johnny, about big kids bullying little kids and you would also be right if we were talking about groups of kids bullying an individual.

    But we both know that a) that sort of bullying is not related to sexual orientation--i.e. many "straight" kids get bullied, too, and b) most bullying of gay boys/men does not involve that kind of massive size differential, nor does it involve group abuse of an individual.

    Instead, it usually consists of a straight guy who is no bigger or stronger than the gay guy in question harrassing the gay guy and then beating the crap out him when he is not man enough to defend himself.

    That is all it boils down to, no matter how hard some of you try to disguise the real issue, divert attention from it with the examples you gave, or offer the usual BS that you just did to the effect that anyone who straight guy who attacks a gay guy is secretly gay himself and any gay guy who suggests that gay men act like other men rather than being cowards "has issues."

    You may win kudos from the home crowd here for doing so, but, at the end of the day, you will still just be regarded as the coward that you are by the vast majority of the population--and you will suffer the appropriate consequences for doing so. And what really terrifies you is the prospect that gay male culture WILL change and leave you as devoid of any support from within your group as you are from society at large.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 3, 2011 12:18:10 PM


  2. @Johnny By the way, I laughed out loud at your characterization that I want everybody to be a "meat-eating Marine"--because I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years now and was "bullied" about it because back then, vegetarianism was almost unheard of. But I stood my ground, rather than whining and trying to get "protection" and was respected for doing so.

    Your use of stereotypes is just another device. There is, of course, plenty of room for diversity among men in all kinds of ways, but what is and should be non-negotiable is a basic level of masculinity. What you and other gay men want to do, however, is throw the baby out with the bathwater to cover up your cowardice.

    Sorry, but that is the honest truth--and you know it as well as I do.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 3, 2011 12:29:03 PM


  3. "The law includes a section noting it doesn't abridge First Amendment free speech rights or prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints..."

    I fail to see how this can be controversial. We are not Canada.

    Posted by: AG | Nov 3, 2011 12:30:10 PM


  4. Just wrote to Sen. Whitmer to thank her. Please do the same. Don't let dipwads like @Rick hijack the debate. He's probably been on here for years stirring the pot under different aliases.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Nov 3, 2011 12:47:11 PM



  5. "...but, at the end of the day, you will still just be regarded as the coward that you are by the vast majority of the population--and you will suffer the appropriate consequences for doing so. And what really terrifies you is the prospect that gay male culture WILL change and leave you as devoid of any support from within your group as you are from society at large"

    You missed your calling, Rick. You should've been a Pentacostal preacher. At times you can do the "fire and brimstone" bit almost to perfection.

    Hey, it aint too late, Rick. Maybe you'll get born again. Then you can be another Ted Haggard.

    Rick, some of your rhetoric reminds me of the time I was Googling "frottage"--you know the grinding weenie to weenie action for guys that don't like anal sex. I ran across this site called "Heroic Homosex". These White guys were all dressed up like ancient Greeks or Romans with hard penises. And all the writing on the site was about becoming more masculine, and saying that anal sex was a disgusting imitation of hetero sex. It was interesting...for about 8 minutes, and then it all seemed silly. The average Manhattan Drag Queen could whup most of those nerdy motha' f.ckas dressed in that gladiator garb.

    Did you dress up as a gladiator on Monday night, Rick? To each her own.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 3, 2011 12:52:03 PM


  6. @K. Yes...I sent a supportive e-mail to Sen. Whitmer (Minority Leader) this morning, BUT, I also sent a reproachful e-mail to the two Republican Senate Leaders. They NEED to hear our anger and indignation. If you've taken time to read this and are planning to post a comment to Towleroad, then take the few additional minutes to send YOUR email to:

    President pro Tem:
    Tonya Schuitmaker (she has a fill-in e-mail page at: senate.michigan.gov) Take a look at her photo. She looks like a Stepford Wife, doesn't she?

    Majority Leader:
    [email protected]

    Don't let them sit smugly in their offices without hearing from the opposition!!

    Posted by: Perry | Nov 3, 2011 1:00:14 PM


  7. @Rick: You're confusing gay kids with gay men. Look back at your posts. You keep saying "gay men" this and "gay men" that. Gay kids are not gay men. They are not yet a part of the gay culture that you seem to be criticizing. They are not adults. Don't assail them as if they are. They don't have the wherewithal that you or I have as grown-ups. You are, in fact, bullying them yourself.

    And before you attack me as "sissified" just know that you are probably barking up the wrong tree. I was raised on a working farm. My idea of fun is wrestling 500lb steers in amateur rodeo and I've lost count of the number broken ribs I've had. I don't take lip from anybody and I am sure I can kick the crap out of most of the straight guys I know. I'm sure that all impresses you as "manly" or whatever.

    What would impress me is if you could learn the difference between a child and an adult.

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Nov 3, 2011 1:07:36 PM


  8. the problem is that wimps like RICK were raised by their fathers to hate being gay. they grow up hating being gay and thinking that they only way they can be accepted is by adopting "straight stereotypes".

    not all of us had lousy fathers like RICK did.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 3, 2011 1:20:07 PM


  9. How on earth can there only be 11 Democrats in the Michigan senate? We're talking about Michigan here, not Alabama or Oklahoma. Is the MI Dem Party incompetent or what's the problem?

    Posted by: Justin | Nov 3, 2011 1:28:57 PM


  10. @Rick

    Your idea of masculinity is actually hyper-masculinity and is only really valid in the United States. You are sad if you think that kicking someones ass makes you a stronger or better person. In fact it's the opposite.

    Posted by: deppy | Nov 3, 2011 1:42:35 PM


  11. Rick and Jason are both disgusting, and no-one should respond to their comments anymore. They're desperate for attention, and are sad individuals who bring nothing to the table as far as reasonable discussion.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 3, 2011 1:42:57 PM


  12. Amen, Francis. Compounded with the fact that RICK makes constant excuses to not be Out.

    Yeah. Such a big man, talking about Manliness from the confines of his closet. Pity him. His dad never accepted him and he never got over it. No wonder he hates "femmes" - we're in a new world where a gay man can be "femme" and be accepted, embraced, loved. That's why RICK's angry - all the faux-macho posturing and he was still a disappointment to his father, so of course seeing glittery boys having parental acceptance angers him. They're loved for being everything his lousy father demanded he not be.

    pity him.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 3, 2011 1:48:58 PM


  13. Republicans are the ENEMY. I despise them. Fred Karger, GOProud, LCR, go f**k yourselves.

    Posted by: Modern Meet | Nov 3, 2011 1:54:26 PM


  14. pity the judges who might be saddled with applying this rule. Is there a difference between making a prayer circle around a tom boy, telling her loudly "REPENT!" or shouting "You're going to hell, you f---ing dyke!" Is a religious absolute or can it become bullying? The practice of our rights has always stopped short of infringing on others. Does Michigan intend to carve out an exception? Are some rights more important than others?

    and what if the bullied girl isn't queer? Is moral objection to a perception valid? Is it okay to call Ricky Goldberg a Christ-killer if you don't know he and his mom are Pentecostalists?

    what are these legislators thinking? That's right, they aren't thinking of anything except their own superiority.

    Posted by: eric | Nov 3, 2011 1:54:39 PM


  15. For some reasons my earlier rebuttals to Rick's attack on my "masculine values" didn't go through, but I gotta say Derrick from Philly said it alot better and funnier than I did, so I'll just second him.

    Posted by: Brian | Nov 3, 2011 1:57:49 PM


  16. @Brian: You're right. If I'd read Derrick's comment beforehand, I probably wouldn't have bothered posting!

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Nov 3, 2011 2:00:20 PM


  17. I am sickened by these republicans actions. Surprised, not so much. But I want to make a point that these guys arent Christian. What they did isnt what a Christian does. NO true Christian would use his belief to do such actions against anyone else. Just because they call themselves Christian doesnt make it so. That is their way of hiding what they really are an thats evil. You will know a true Christian by their actions. These guys an the damned bullies are far from it.

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 3, 2011 2:22:00 PM


  18. Republicans love bullies because they ARE bullies.

    Posted by: Terry C - NJ | Nov 3, 2011 3:05:00 PM


  19. @Justin: The reason the Republicans were swept into office at every level of Michigan government was not because the Dems are incompetent. Quite the opposite is true. The problem is the Republicans are much better at getting their message out to the people than the Democrate are. I guess playing to our darker nature works. And it doesn't hurt that right wing talk radio dominates the airwaves.

    It also falls at the feet of the Democratic voters of Michigan. They chose to sit the election out(I guess too busy living their self centered lives to give a damn about voting), allowing the Republican voters of Michigan, a distinct minority of the population as a whole, but the majority of voters in the last election, who saw fit to get off their collective asses and vote; determine the outcome resulting is this overwhelming disparity at the state level of government.

    Michigan isn't alone here, this sort of thing is going on all across this country.

    ...when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn. -Peter, Paul and Mary

    Posted by: mytwocents | Nov 3, 2011 3:22:01 PM


  20. @RyaninSacto. You said:

    "You're confusing gay kids with gay men. Look back at your posts. You keep saying "gay men" this and "gay men" that. Gay kids are not gay men. They are not yet a part of the gay culture that you seem to be criticizing. They are not adults. Don't assail them as if they are. They don't have the wherewithal that you or I have as grown-ups. You are, in fact, bullying them yourself"

    This is not true, Ryan. The two highly publicized cases of teenaged boys killing themselves, both of which were discussed widely on this website--one in Buffalo and the other in Ontario--these boys spoke in their suicide notes about their adoration for Lady Gaga and other "divas." They had also, themselves, made "It Gets Better" videos.

    And look at how much good all that did them.

    The point is that they had very much immersed themselves already in the gay culture of effeminacy and diva-worship and that undoubtedly contributed heavily not only to their personal dissatisfaction and hopelessness, but to their having been bullied in the first place.

    The culture of effeminacy is severly destructive to the self-esteem of gay teens and that is what is killing them more than anything else.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 3, 2011 5:19:10 PM


  21. @Derrick You know, in a funny sort of way, our views sometimes converge, although you don't realize it. One of the things I have found so hilarious over the years--and disheartening--is the phony sort of "masculinity" one sees in gay life--the leather scene, for example. When I was young and first went into a leather bar hoping that it would be a real departure from the prevailing gay culture, I, much to my dismay, found that these guys were just caricatures and did not really even understand masculinity at all--instead, they were pretending to be like what they imagined hyper-masculine straight guys to be like--often with rather hilarious results. There was no experience quite like observing some big guy all decked out in leather with a cigar dangling out of his mustachioed mouth open that mouth......and in a creepy Lauren Bacall-like voice start raving about Madonna--or whomever.

    One of my many learning experiences.

    I find it equally amazing that someone like you can be a football fan and talk about slitting someone's neck with a razor (like you did yesterday) and yet apparently want to parade around Philly in high heels and pink chiffon.

    You would be a fascinating psychological study, if nothing else.

    I guess what I just don't understand is why more gay men cannot just be the same kind of normal, masculine guy that 90+% of straight men are. Not over-the-top, not caricatured, not weirded out in some way, but just plain old guy-next-door normal--what I expected to find when I first came out all those years ago, but have very rarely encountered.

    What is so freakin' difficult about that? I just don't get it.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 3, 2011 5:36:09 PM


  22. This comment thread should be about congratulating this fierce ally for standing up against those who use religion to exempt themselves from treating others kindly and use their false brand of "morality" to bully and belittle other people, particularly vulnerable young people. Rep. Whitmer is saying these special exemptions for religious bigotry MUST STOP NOW. She is making a difference in the world. She is important.

    Discussions about personal disappointments in leather bars are not only insignificant, but they cheapen the work of people who are standing up for the humanity of all young people, wherever they may fall on the gender or sexuality spectrum. To respond to Rick or one of his other sad alter-egos is to give him a dignity he doesn't deserve.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 3, 2011 5:56:03 PM


  23. I'm not endorsing or criticizing this said bill, as I'm really not in a position (due to lack of information) to hold an opinion. I will say that no law is perfect. Laws have REAL consequences, and things are rarely black and white. The idea of protecting one's right to an opinion, should be sought after too. When I was in HS, a Muslim kid came up to me and asked "Are you religious?" My response was "No." He then proceeded with "What do you think of Islam?" I said, "It's probably at the very bottom of the totem pole in regards to religion; I find it pretty vile.". Guess who got sent to the principal's office? Me. I could have used more tact, sure, but I had the right to state my opinion (especially when asked). A kid has the right to hold the belief that gay kids are going to hell. Him stating that and being considered abuse depends entirely on the context.

    Again, no child should be bombarded with physical or excessive emotional abuse. But we shouldn't completely shut down opinions and speech, no matter how disgusting, just for the sake of having no confrontation in life. I just feel like people are ignoring the trade offs. It's a real possibility that this law is horrible, but this article and the senator doesn't seem to give a concrete example or a compelling case (" 'publicans want da gays hangin'" doesn't count).... maybe I'll research the law a bit myself.

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 3, 2011 5:57:10 PM


  24. Poor Rick still despises himself for being gay. Pity however is not in my vocabulary.

    Posted by: Marc C | Nov 3, 2011 7:15:58 PM


  25. Rowan, I don't know your nationality but you asked why voters here in the US vote against their economic interest (putting LGBT aside for a moment). The adequate answer would require more space than Mr.Towle can afford to give me here so I'll touch on the bullet points if you will.

    The electorate is (and will be for the next few cycles) dominated by older white voters shocked by our rapid decline as a country and looking for scapegoats. A black Prez, gays, and "Libruls" fit that bill for those in a panic that Brady Bunch America is gone forever.

    We have always been an anti-intellectual nation (We're the anti-Europe) and the GOP plays that card. Their new battle cry is: Who needs book "larnin"? Thump the Bible, hate science and knock smart people.

    The Dems are near hopeless because they are the "Pander Bears" pandering to their interest groups instead of the in your face opponents of Repugs. This President has taken "I'm not gonna be the angry black man" meme to ridiculous ends of weakness and.indecision. As Ms Davis said, Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Nov 3, 2011 7:31:14 PM


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