Louisiana Lawmakers Don’t Think Gay People Get Bullied

BullyRemember earlier when I wondered whether Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lived on another planet for denying that anti-gay discrimination exists? Well, Louisiana conservatives may live in that outer space realm, as well.

Via Joe.My.God comes word that a House committee in Louisiana rejected an LGBT anti-bullying bill because they basically don't think being gay would invoke a bully's ire.

…Civil rights and gay rights advocates failed Wednesday to win approval for a more detailed and, advocates say, stronger anti-bullying law for public schools. Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, pitched House Bill 407 as necessary, given continued evidence of bullying, including a recent suicide by a Point Coupee teenager who had complained to adults many times about being mistreated by her classmates.

Opponents, lead by the conservative Louisiana Family Forum and aides to Gov. Bobby Jindal, argued that the measure went too far by listing perceived or actual characteristics that should not subject a student to bullying. The committee voted 10-5 to strip the bill of those key changes, which included sexual orientation. Smith shelved the measure, saying the action gutted its intent.

Current law requires local school boards to write policies that prohibit "harassment, intimidation and bullying." It defines those terms, in part, as, "any intentional gesture or written, verbal or physical act that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know will have the effective of harming a student or damaging his property or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm."

Smith proposed several tweaks and additions, but the most pertinent passage extended the definition to acts "a reasonable person under the circumstances would perceive as being motivated by an actually or perceived characteristic, including but not limited to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, exceptionalities, physical disability, intellectual disability, developmental disability, mental illness or emotional health disorder, language ability, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, gender identity, gender expression, political ideas or affiliations, socioeconomic status or association with others identified by such characteristics."

Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills said the bill "introduces sexual politics" into the classroom, according to The Times-Picayune. I don't know what kind of atmosphere Mills, Jindal and their friends have on this hypothetical planet, but it's not oxygen.