Could a bill banning bullying against gays and lesbians lead to same-sex marriage?
Yes, according to two N.C. Roman Catholic bishops who have urged their followers in two mass emails this past week to oppose Senate Bill 526, otherwise known as the School Violence Protection Act, Yonat Shimron reports.
While the two bishops say they oppose bullying period, they cannot support a bill that singles out "gender identity and sexual orientation."
Msgr. Michael Clay, the legislative lobbyist for the Diocese of Raleigh, said three states — Iowa, California and Connecticut — have used similar anti-gay bullying laws as part of their "findings of fact," in building a case for same-sex marriage.
"It could be a precursor of actions by our legislature and/or our courts to mandate same-sex marriage," said Clay. "It's more than speculative. This is a result that happens."
Clay said both Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte believe bullying is wrong and would gladly support a bill without the offending language.
"We're urging people to support the bill and take out the differentiating language," he said.
Other groups, including the Christian Action League and the N.C. Family Policy Council, also oppose the bill, saying it would introduce special legal protections for gays and lesbians.
Update: But not all religious groups agreed with what they said was an exaggerated emphasis on same-sex marriage.
"This is not a theoretical political issue," said the Rev. Jack McKinney, co-pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. "This is about real kids suffering real pain and too many of them hurting themselves. For it to be used as a political football is a tragedy."