Education Hub

Nashville Private School Rejects Student For Having Gay Parents

Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard

And the trend of punishing children for the behaviors/beliefs/orientations of their parents continues. Davidson Academy, a non-denominational school in Nashville, TN had agreed to meet with Brian Copeland and give him a tour of the school where he wished to enroll his young son and daughter. Those plans were nixed, however, once school officials learned that Copeland was married to his husband Greg Bullard, and the decision was made that they would not allow Copeland and Bullard's children to be admitted.

After receiving an official rejection from the school, Bullard posted it to Facebook to illustrate that discrimination is still "alive and well" in Tennessee, which prompted condemnation from advocates and even alumni.

Read the letter, in part:

Any lifestyle conduct which is in opposition to the mission of Davidson Academy or which impedes the school's credibility with its constituency or the general public is unacceptable. One example of such lifestyle is homosexuality.

Copeland and Bullard do not wish to press charges or seek any legal action against the school, but are expressing frustration that it is "very, very hard" to find a private school that offers the rigorous faith-based education they want for their children that won't discriminate against a married gay couple.

You can read the official rejection letter AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ireland To Introduce Gay Adoption Law Prior To Same-Sex Marriage Referendum: VIDEO


The Irish government has announced that legislation providing for adoption by gay couples will be enacted before the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, reports the Irish Times.

The government also today announced the exact wording that people will vote on in the May referendum: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

The announcement in relation to adoption by gay couples comes following the first televised debate earlier this week on the same-sex marriage referendum during which potential pitfalls on the issue of gay adoption were revealed.

Actor Colin Farrell had pre-recorded an interview with host Claire Byrne in which he spoke passionately about his support for equal rights and how growing up with a gay brother and seeing him be at "the tail end of the whip of intolerance" left an indelible impression on him.

Frances_Fitzgerald_2014Whereas existing laws state that only married couples or sole applicants can seek to adopt a child, proposed changes would extend the right to adopt to same-sex partners. The reform will be part of the Children and Family Relationships Bill, the general scheme of which was published early last year, with a revised version published last September by current minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald (right).

The bill on same-sex marriage - along with a bill dealing with another referendum on reducing the age at which an individual can contest the presidential election from 35 to 21 - is expected to be published shortly and to be debated by both Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.

Earlier today we reported that the Union of Students in Ireland has launched the Vote For Love campaign in support of same-sex marriage. Watch the campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

In December, the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran (above) released a manifesto outlining the reasons behind the Catholic Church's continuing war against equal rights for gay people.

Last weekend, Ireland's health minister Leo Varadkar announced that he is gay. Earlier today, Labour politician Dominic Hannigan announced that he married his partner of 20 years Chris, in London on New Year's Eve.

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North Carolina Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher: VIDEO

Lonnie Billard

In yet another case of anti-gay discrimination in Catholic schools, Charlotte Roman Catholic diocese, North Carolina fired teacher Lonnie Billard (above left, with his partner Rich) after he announced his engagement on Facebook, reports the Advocate.

Before his dismissal, retired Billard had continued to work as a regular substitute teacher in Charlotte Catholic High School.

Although the diocese has claimed that the school made the decision, Billard has challenged this version of events:

“This was not a decision by Charlotte Catholic High School. I had talked with one of the administration officials. He knew [about the engagement announcement]. He didn’t care. He said he knew me to be a good teacher and a good person.

“Apparently there were a couple teachers there who are super-conservative Catholic. They are not friends of mine on Facebook, but they found out about it and escalated it so it got to the diocese.

I knew the Catholic Church is behind the times when it comes to understanding and acceptance of gay people, but I thought with the current pope saying, ‘Who am I to judge?’ that maybe things would be better, but apparently that’s not the case.”

According to diocese spokesman David Hains, Billard was not fired for being gay but for violating an employment contract that prohibited him from opposing church teaching.

However, responding to objections from the diocese on the facts as presented by Qnotes, the Charlotte-based LGBT community newspaper stated:

“The violation of Billard’s contract was his statement on his intention to marry. Without this statement, Billard wouldn’t have been fired. Therefore, it is factual and accurate to report that Billard was fired because he is a gay man who announced his intention to marry his same-gender partner — an act the church calls ‘disobedience,’ but which is also a fundamental human and civil right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, as recently upheld by North Carolina’s U.S. District Courts and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

In March of last year, an assistant theology professor at Charlotte Catholic caused a furore - and a backlash from parents and students - when she claimed in a speech that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of pornography and parents' shortcomings.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP... 


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Kentucky Bill Says Students Who See a Trans Classmate in the Bathroom Can Sue School for $2500

A heinous bill being proposed by a Kentucky lawmaker aims to shut transgender students out of school bathrooms altogether, holding schools liable if an "aggrieved" student encounters a transgender student in the bathroom.

EmbryUnder the terms of The Kentucky Student Privacy Act, introduced by Republican Senator C.B. Embry as an "emergency" bill (read it below), students can sue the school for $2500 if they find a transgender student using the facilities.

Embry is declaring the bill an "emergency" because "situations currently exist in which the privacy rights of students are violated."

A student who is aggrieved under this subsection and who prevails in a court of jurisdiction:

1. May recover two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) from the offending school for each instance in which he or she encountered a person of the opposite sex while accessing a school restroom, locker room, or shower room designated for use by the biological sex of the aggrieved student;

2. May recover monetary damages from the offending school for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered; and

3 Shall be entitled to recover from the offending school reasonable attorney fees and costs associated with the claim.

The bill also attempts to make it as onerous as possible for the school to deal with accommodations for a trans student:

A student who asserts to school officials that his or her gender is different from his or her biological sex and whose parent or legal guardian provides written consent to school officials shall be provided with the best available accommodation, but that accommodation shall not include the use of student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present.

Acceptable accommodations may include but not be limited to access to single-stall restrooms, access to unisex bathrooms, or controlled use of faculty bathrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms.

While accessing a restroom, locker room, or shower room designated for use by his or her biological sex, a student encountering a person of the opposite biological sex shall have a private cause of action against the school if school personnel:

1. Gave the person encountered permission to use facilities of the opposite biological sex; or
2. Failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit the person encountered from using facilities designated for use by the opposite biological sex.

According to Think Progress, Embry opposed a sweeping anti-bullying bill that would have protected LGBT students in 2013 saying the state's anti-bullying laws were sufficient:

“We have a death penalty against rape and murder but they still happen,” he said at the time.

Looks as though trans students in Kentucky need protection from him.

Here's the bill:


Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Appoints Anti-Gay Pastor James Meeks To State Education Board


Anti-gay Illinois Republican Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has appointed religious leader and homophobic former Democratic senator James Meeks (right) to head of the state Board of Education, reports the Chicago Tribune.

MeeksMeeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, endorsed Rauner for governor and backs the increased use of charter schools and vouchers as alternatives to traditional public education.

While Rauner has claimed that he had no social agenda, Meeks has been an active opponent of same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Last year, Equality Illinois, along with associated community members and elected officials, unveiled a giant banner Rauner, showcasing a 2013 statement that he would have vetoed the state’s new marriage equality bill had it come to his desk as governor.

In 2008, it was revealed that Barack Obama often sought out Meeks for "spiritual counsel."

The Origin Of 'Hot' - VIDEO


It's a strange term when one stops to think about it: why would we use temperature to describe someone's sexiness? The folks over at Mental Floss dove into this etymology lesson with some surprising revelations, such as the fact that it's been a common term for over 700 years, first appearing in the 1300s to reference lust and desire. Canterbury Tales is an early work to use this new definition with the line in the prologue, "Hot he was, and lecherous as a sparrow." The complete adoption of the word to mean "attractive" took a long gestation time and according to the Oxford English Dictionary became official slang in the 1920s.

Word nerds can get the full rundown AFTER THE JUMP...

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