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Conservative Legislators Say Anti-Bullying Law Is 'Pro-Homosexual'

By Samantha Abernethy in News on May 23, 2012 10:00PM

Conservative legislators in the Illinois State Senate rejected a bill creating detailed policies for handling bullying in schools because they fear the bill is "pro-homosexual."

As proof of the bill's gay bias, the Illinois Family Institute points to its sponsor, openly gay State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), and the support the bill has from the organization Equality Illinois. The Sun-Times writes:

Some conservatives feared the bill would be used as cover to indoctrinate students. The Illinois Family Institute lobbied for an “opt out” provision that would let students and teachers skip any lessons or events that violated their religious beliefs.

“There are some programs that are not just against bullying in general. Some of them tend to have an agenda of being pro-homosexual,” said Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon.

The legislation would not require schools to offer programs on bullying or homosexuality, but McCarter said it would be a step toward such a mandate.

So how gay is this bill? Well, HB5290 alters the Safe Schools Act to require the Illinois State Board of Education to create a "template for a model bullying prevention policy" that individual school districts would use when establishing policies. The bill emphasizes "restorative" measures over "punitive" measures when solving student conflict.

The bill might not be dead yet. The vote has been postponed and will head back to the assembly before returning to the senate. Cassidy told the Windy City Times the bill was rejected by just one vote, while two supportive senators were not present, so it still may pass before the session ends.