Five men in Britain, wrote The Washington Post recently, are on trial for distributing leaflets titled “The Death Penalty” calling for gay people to be killed, and depicting a noose. They were charged under a new law that makes such actions a hate crime.
Quoted as calling the leaflets “frightening and nasty,” prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said the five were “part of a small group of men who distributed horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and with pictures on them, which were designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people.”
Back on our side of the pond, the state of Tennessee has jumped in where Michigan feared to tread, with legislative bill HB1153. Using wording similar to those recently stricken from the Michigan Bill, the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) is promoting state legislation to protect bullies who attack fellow students for their real–or perceived–sexual orientation. Like it’s defunct Michigan counterpart, HB1153 has specific protections for any students who wish to push their “religious, philosophical or political views.”
Now, we have our own “Minnesota Nice” version of anti-gay bigotry, recently presented to the Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 by Brian Lindquist and Mike Skaalerud of the Parents Action League (PAL). This group doesn’t yet suggest their progeny has the right to taunt and bully other children armored in the self-righteousness of their religion or moral beliefs. Instead, they announce that homosexuals are using the spurious theme of school safety “to advance a much broader agenda, the legitimization of homosexuality and related conduct to impressionable school children.”
To this end, PAL seeks to erase any mention of homosexuality and replacing any GLBT studies or GSA groups with a list (not read at the time) of “pro-family, ex-homosexual, ex-transgender information to all counselors, school psychologists [and] classroom teachers.”
PAL invoked Meyers v. Nebraska as a possible cause for their taking legal action–a 1923 Supreme Court case involving Nebraska’s 1919 law preventing the teaching of foreign languages–i.e. German. In a recent Edgewise, I said that Michigan’s changes made, “A happier ending, but still a cautionary tale illustrating that one must be continually vigilant to ensure that others’ religious and moral codes are not being forced on the general population.” It’s not over by along shot.