What Would A NOM-Run Public School Look Like?
March 09, 2012 12:07 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Although the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) claims to be focused exclusively on protecting “marriage and the faith communities that sustain it,” the group has spent a sizable amount of the past several months attacking efforts to create safe schools for LGBT youth.
Individually, each of these attacks demonstrates that NOM’s anti-gay agenda goes well beyond fighting same-sex marriage. Taken together, though, the group’s criticisms paint a harrowing picture of what kind of environment NOM envisions for young LGBT students.
Based on the group’s stated opposition to pro-LGBT school policies, here’s a glimpse at what a NOM-run school might look like:
No Anti-Bullying Laws Or Policies. NOM’s Ruth Institute has promoted numerous columns condemning efforts to combat anti-LGBT bullying through school policies or government regulation. An October column suggested that anti-bullying policies make bullying worse. Another asserted that the public was concerned about anti-gay bullying because “gays are in vogue.” The list goes on and on.
Special Protections For Anti-Gay Bullies. In November, NOM president Brian Brown criticized Michigan Democrats for opposing an exemption to an anti-bullying law which would exempt bullies who express “religious or moral viewpoints.” Brown wrote:
Are some major political players openly now asserting that protecting gay children from bullying—a worthy goal—requires giving the government the right to prohibit thoughtful and civil expressions of religious or moral viewpoints?
No LGBT-Oriented Student Groups. NOM chairman John Eastman is a vocal opponent of gay-straight alliances in public school. In 2000, he condemned the groups, calling them “incubators of moral relativism.” The organization has also condemned the Canadian government for requiring publicly subsidized Catholic schools to allow for gay-straight alliances.
No LGBT-Inclusive Curricula. In September, NOM’s Brown repeatedly urged his supporters to sign a petition to repeal California’s SB 48, the FAIR Education Act, which would require public schools to teach students about the contributions of the LGBT community to California and the U.S. throughout history. Brown warned that the law would teach kindergartners about “homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism as part of a social science curriculum.”
No LGBT-Specific Musical Productions. In October, NOM’s Brown attacked a Connecticut public school for presenting a school musical about homophobia, which included a kiss between two male actors. Brown decried the musical as evidence that public schools were promoting a “new moral norm” in the wake of the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage.
No LGBT Tolerance Or Diversity Lessons. NOM has objected to several attempts to promote tolerance toward LGBT in schools. The group warned supporters about a school in California that began a lesson plan to teach students about gender diversity, asking, “Coming to a public school near you?” NOM also highlighted a Toronto school district’s promotion of the “homosexual agenda” through the creation of “diversity education” lessons to combat heterosexism.
No Access To LGBT-Supportive Websites. In August and September, NOM’s Ruth Institute criticized the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for its “Don’t Filter Me” campaign, which aimed to end the censoring of pro-LGBT websites on public school computers. Ruth Institute contributor “Betsy” called the ACLU “just evil” and promoted a column referring to it as the “devil’s law firm” for trying to expose kids to pornography.
No “It Gets Better” Project. In August, NOM’s Ruth Institute promoted a column which smeared the “It Gets Better” Project – a campaign to reduce suicide among LGBT youth – calling it “the youth campaign that makes everything worse.” The column criticized “It Gets Better” for “aggressively promot[ing] deviant sex” and a lifestyle that includes “STDs, HIV, AIDS, rates of drug abuse, domestic violence, and infidelity.”
Teachers Are Allowed To Publicly Condemn Homosexuality. NOM launched an impassioned defense of New Jersey school teacher Viki Knox, who used her publicly accessible Facebook page to call homosexuality a “perverted spirit” created by Satan. NOM even created a petition on her behalf, telling supporters that Knox was under attack from the “PC crowd” following calls for her resignation.
No Scholarships For LGBT Students. In August, NOM’s Ruth Institute mocked Elmhurst College for including a voluntary question about applicants’ sexual orientation on its application: “What’s to keep students from lying for the sake of a scholarship?”
No Celebration Of Harvey Milk’s Birthday. In May, NOM promoted a poll released by Save California -- recently labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- which suggested that a majority of respondents were opposed to the recognition of Harvey Milk’s birthday in public schools. NOM noted the “remarkable consensus” against celebrating the gay rights champion’s birthday.
For a group that claims to be concerned only with the definition of marriage, NOM has a lot to say about how schools treat non-marital LGBT issues. Unfortunately, none of it is at all concerned with protecting vulnerable LGBT students.