Saturday, March 17, 2007

Utah Targets LGBT Clubs

Utah really doesn't want students getting together and talking about sexuality. From the NYTimes:

“This is all about gay-straight alliance clubs, and anybody who tells you different is lying,” said State Senator Scott D. McCoy, Democrat from Salt Lake City, who voted against the law.
The homophobic legislature is so afraid of LGBT kids getting together they are willing to limit the activities of everyone. Because they have to:
In a paradoxical twist missed by almost nobody in the clubs debate, the federal equal access law was co-sponsored by United States Senator Orrin G.
, Republican of Utah, to make sure that religious and Bible study groups were not discriminated against by secular-minded principals.

The same protections mean that gay-straight alliances cannot be singled out, legal experts say, which is why the rules in the new schools law must be applied across the board to all clubs, no matter what they do or who joins them.

Under the new Utah law, every club will have to complete an activity disclosure statement that itemizes what it will do, and discusses how many members it will have, and whether tryouts are required. It mandates that any student joining any club needs a parent’s signature — though most public schools in Utah require that already — and specifically bans any discussion by any club of “human sexuality.”

The law defines that term to mean “advocating or engaging in sexual activity outside of legal recognized marriage or forbidden by state law,” and “presenting or discussing information relating to the use of contraceptive devices.”
That last bold text is pure fundy talk. In the language of all religious extremists, relationships and orientation are framed solely in terms of sexual activities.

Good for these kids and sane legislators:
Teenage leaders at some gay-straight clubs got politically involved and testified at the Capitol. One of the State Legislature’s three openly gay members successfully pushed through amendments that could limit the law’s effect and even perhaps increase visibility of gay-straight clubs in the 14 Utah public high schools that now have them, by requiring that all clubs get equal treatment on bulletin boards and in school newspapers.

“We helped weaken the bill and water it down, and that is in some ways a victory,” said
Samantha Verde, 17, a senior at Hunter High School west of Salt Lake City and co-resident of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
Of all the frightening things in this world, people looking to control what other people get together and talk about are among the scariest.