Well, we lost another one, but most people in the country aren't aware of it.
The Murrieta school board voted, 3-2, to reject a proposed policy banning bullying and harassment of students "respect to ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation, color, race, national origin and physical or mental disability or the perception of one or more of such characteristics."
Why was it shot down? Two members were squarely for it. Two others were squarely against it. One was swayed by the notion that this somehow might be legally dubious and open up the school district to liability. So she voted "no," and the proposal was shot down -- despite being approved by the district's legal counsel, by the school district staff, and by the federal department of civil rights.
Why did she think it was legally risky? Because right-wing extremist lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund showed up and railed that this was an infringement "on free speech."
Now, let me explain a little about that.
Free speech is usually, of course, a good thing. Problem is, some people will use the cry of "free speech" as a cover for their real agenda, and that's what's going on here.
Make no mistake about it, the Alliance Defense Fund lawyers are not really big champions of free speech, not the way the ACLU are. The lawyers' opposition against this anti-harassment policy is based on one thing and one thing only:
They want the "right" to harass gays. And this policy would stop that.
Let's look at an example of the type of "free speech" we're talking about. Mr. Ken Dickson, president of the Murrieta school board and one of those voting AGAINST the proposed anti-harassment policy, is also a lawyer. And currently he is volunteering -- for free -- his services for a Poway teenager who wore an anti-gay T-shirt to school.
Well, okay, you might think that's not proof of his bigoted anti-gay agenda. Maybe he just believes in free speech.
Let's look at the law firm which has threatened to sue the Murrieta school district the week after they pass an anti-harassment policy. Lively and Ackerman, a Temecula law partnership, are Alliance Defense Fund lawyers -- as is school board president Ken Dickson. And what are Lively and Ackerman like?
Well, their whole careeer is based on fighting against gay rights. Their website proudly proclaims [emphasis mine]:
The attorneys of the California-based Pro-Family Law Center are pleased with today's California Supreme Court's ruling that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's issuance of same-sex marriage licenses was void. The Supreme Court properly invalidated thousands of illegal marriage licenses with this ruling. Attorneys Richard D. Ackerman and Scott D. Lively were the original California attorneys for Randy Thomasson in the matter of Thomasson v. Newsom, and represented many state legislators in an amici curiae brief to the California Supreme Court.
Ackerman says, however, "This issue will not die with today's ruling. The People of the State of California must remain vigilant in preserving the traditional institution of marriage. Our state legislature is filled with anarchistic members who will seek to do an end-run on the Court's ruling. These legislators are voted in by a constituency that does not support gay marriage. Unfortunately, these legislators, many of whom are Democrats, go behind the voters' backs and do whatever fits their political fancy. It is almost a political certainty that California's left-wing legislators will openly defy the Supreme Court." Ackerman has previously served as an expert to the California Legislature on the issue of gay marriage.
If you need more convincing, take a look at Defending The Family.com, an anti-gay hate site run by Lively himself with help from Ackerman and others. This "ministry" offers book titles such as:
- A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality
- Defeating "Gay" Arguments with Simple Logic
- Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternative Deathstyle
- Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child ("A concise, practical guidebook for parents who wish to protect their children from pro-homosexual indoctrination and the possibility of recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle")
- The Danger of "Safe Schools" ("A 12-page expose of the homosexual infiltration of public schools in newspaper format. -- FREE!")
- The Pink Swastika: 4th Edition ("The Pink Swastika is a thoroughly researched, eminently readable, demoliton of the 'gay' myth, symbolized by the pink triangle, that the Nazis were anti-homosexual.")
- Why and How to Defeat the "Gay" Movement
I dare anyone to look objectively at these lawyers and tell me that they're more motivated by "the first amendment" than they are by their anti-gay agenda. Skim their resources archive for example, and see their form that tells you how to "opt out" from anything that would teach your child that being gay or lesbian is the natural state of some people.
Ironically, the real danger here will not actually be borne primarily by the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teenagers who are so despised by these Christian [sic] zealots. Look over the hate incidents compiled for the Not In Our Valley site -- there's only one listed attack based on sexual orientation.
There are far, far more black, Latino, Asian, Native, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, Mormon, immigrant, and disabled kids in the Murrieta school district than there are LGBT children, and ALL of those kids are at risk from a school board which is willing to condone harassment as long as some of that harassment is directed at gays.
And that's just plain sick.