An anti-school bullying proposal that lists masculinity, femininity and sexual orientation as reasons students might be teased or beaten is unacceptable to the N.C. Family Policy Council.
The group that lobbies on behalf of socially conservative causes is asking legislators not to support a proposal that would require local school boards to set up anti-bullying policies because of some of the bully-target characteristics mentioned in it, reports Lynn Bonner.
Members of the House and Senate had worked on a compromise bill intended to dampen such controversy by removing a reference to "gender identity or expression" and replacing it with masculinity and femininity. The compromise is scheduled to go to votes today.
But Bill Brooks, Family Policy Council executive director, said significant problems remain.
Read more after the jump.
The proposal leaves the meaning of sexual orientation, masculinity and femininity open to interpretation, he said, and anticipated that the anti-bullying statute would be used to file lawsuits and eventually be used to insert sexual orientation into other state laws.
"If 'sexual orientation' is enacted into North Carolina law through HB 1366, it will serve as the basis for affirming deviant sexual behaviors throughout our state," says an issue brief Brooks was distributing to legislators.
In an interview, Brooks said the proposal should delete the entire paragraph that refers to bullying targets. That way, he said, the focus is on the bully, not the victim.
Ian Palmquist, director of the gay-rights lobbying group Equality North Carolina said he preferred the version that referred to gender identity and expression because it mirrors phrasing in other states' laws that has proven effective.
The compromise is still "a strong bill that will provide protection for all students, including those that are the most vulnerable," Palmquist said. "I think it's kind of sad that we're having a debate about something that protects children from bullying in schools."