Let’s jump right on in, shall we?
While some state assemblies have sought to pass legislation protecting youth from bullying, others are considering bills that seem to show the damage that elected bullies can do with the weapons of government. Such is the case in Missouri where House Bill 2051, the Don’t Say Gay bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Cookson (R-153), advances despite widespread outrage. Missouri’s Don’t Say Gay bill would not only prohibit schools from discussing LGBT issues, but it would also keep Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA’s) from being approved as extracurricular entities and meeting on school grounds.
As reported in the Kansas City Star, Rep. Cookson believes schools should focus on math and science and leave everything else to parents.
“When we start going off in other directions that I feel like are social engineering, we’ve lost focus on what our core mission in schools is, and that is to teach skills we need to be successful.”
Yeah, that quote made my Afro hurt too.
In short, Missouri’s Don’t Say Gay bill is another legislative “solution” in search of a problem.
Too often legislation restricting LGBT rights are examined along party lines. But in Missouri the rivers aren’t the only things muddy. Democrats aren’t always progressive and Republicans aren’t as homogenous as the Cooksons of the world like to think they are.
Enter Rep. Zach Wyatt, a Republican serving in the Missouri House with Rep. Cookson, who held a press conference in the Capitol yesterday.
“Today I ask you to stand with me as a proud Republican, a proud veteran and a proud gay man who wants to protect all kids.”
With that declaration Rep. Wyatt became the only out gay Republican serving in a state legislature.
State assemblies can have a huge impact on the lives of the people they represent. Elected officials can draft bills to empower or restrict, to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority or to impose the values of some on the whole.
Such is the case in Missouri…