Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Both Sides Testify At Hearing

State House hearing room B-1 was filled with citizens waiting to testify against and in support of a number of bills. The room was packed with close to a hundred people. Most of the usual anti-gay characters showed up to testify against the Health Education bill (S288) and a few in favor of MassResistance's Parental Notification bill (S321).

Check out the umbrella organization supporting the Health Education bil
l: Coalition Advocating Responsible Education for Youth.

There were some interesting arguments against the Health Education bill. One woman compared the bill to eating brownies that contained dog excrement. There were a few people who argued that god would not want health education taught in our schools.

Action League executive director, C.J. Doyle, testified in favor of the MassResistance parental notification bill. He claimed that teaching students about condoms would violate the rights of Catholic parents because of their religious beliefs. Senator Augustus, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, mentioned that there are a few very conservative sects of Islam that believe women are inferior to men. The Senator then asked Doyle if teaching that "girls are equal to boys" would violate the rights of those parents. Doyle, understanding the point that Senator Augustus was making, couldn't answer the question.

Tom Lang, co-founder of testified that, if the Parental Notification bill were to become law, students would need to have a signed permission slip in order to be taught the truth about important figures in history that were gay or lesbian; such as Gertrude Stein, Alan Turing, Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci. Students would even need parental permission to discuss the fact that victims of the holocaust included homosexuals.

Brian Camenker of MassResistance testified in favor of his anti-gay bill. He declared that everything from lesbianism to pansexuality to “bondage and discipline” and sado-masochism to bestiality is being taught in public schools across the Commonwealth. Camenker, responding to Lang's testimony, denied that homosexuals were ever a target of the Nazis. He claimed that homosexuals were not among the victims of the holocaust.

Representative Wolf, a strong ally to the LGBT community, stated that homosexuals were targeted by the Nazis and victims of the holocaust. Camenker continued to deny the facts. He would like to see any trace of LGBT history, good or bad, disappear from the history books.

Members of the committee questioned the opt-in aspect of the parental notification bill. Senator Augustus mentioned that opt-in, rather than opt-out, could harm students who have parents that do not take an interest in their children's schooling one way or another. These parents may not sign permission slips, leaving the student left out of health class discussions about safe sex or drug abuse.

It doesn't look like MassResistance's anti-gay bill will go very far. However, with nearly half of the legislature sponsoring the Health Education bill, it looks like it has a good chance at coming up for a vote.


At 12:37 PM, Blogger John Hosty said...

That picture of Doyle looks like it is right out of an Austin Powers movie, lol! Baby, the other white meat... :)


Post a Comment

<< Home