By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
June 27, 2014
RALEIGH – A charter school bill that spurred significant debate when lawmakers tried to insert “sexual orientation and gender identity” into schools’ non-discrimination policies passed the House on Thursday but not before a passionate speech by Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford) about the rights and responsibilities of Americans and a compromise amendment by Rep. Nathan Ramsey (R-Buncombe) to align the measure with protections afforded by the Constitution and federal law.
“This amendment will make it clear that our charter schools are just like our public schools, that we’re not going to discriminate based on any category protected by our United States Constitution, including the Equal Protection Clause, or under federal law that applies to our states,” Ramsey explained.
While Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) said the language wasn’t exactly like that requested by Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe), it was close enough “to what we want morally and legally and constitutionally the law to be which is a recognition that no child should be discriminated against in a charter school, which is a public school, for any reason based on their status or who they are.”
“I think when you look at the categories protected by the Constitution and federal law, I think this achieves that in a way that perhaps sends a good message from everybody in this House about what we believe are the rights of children in public schools and charter schools,” Glazier added.
Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) had angered pro-LGBT forces and some lawmakers earlier in the week when he challenged Fisher’s amendment on the basis of a lack of definition for “sexual orientation.”
“Sexual orientation is not defined anywhere. I have here 30 different types of sexual orientation,” Stam told the House Tuesday, referring to a list from the 2000 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and reminding lawmakers that when the phrase “sexual orientation” was first introduced into a state statute some four years ago, he had requested that three proclivities — pedophilia, masochism and sadism — be excluded.
“Many, many sexual orientations are not ones you want to have teaching kids in school,” Stam said.
An angry Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg) later told the media that Stam’s “words and his actions are offensive and cannot be tolerated.”
Ironically, it was Rep. Brandon, the Legislature’s sole open homosexual, who defended Stam’s right to speak freely even as the High Point Democrat proposed a more detailed amendment on Thursday that would define sexual orientation as “a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.”
“The Constitution is not just for what you want to fight for. The beautiful thing about it is it’s for every single person whether we like it or not,” Brandon said. “Whether I like Skip Stam’s comments or not doesn’t matter; he has the right to say them. Whether you like the fact that I’m a homosexual or not does not matter; I have the right to be here because I’m an American.”
Before Brandon’s amendment could be voted on, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) suggested an alternate version that would insist that charter schools not discriminate against any student based on reasons listed in a specific federal statute. Because he couldn’t immediately cite the list of enumerations the specific statute included, the bill was displaced and Lewis’s amendment later withdrawn in favor of the one filed by Ramsey.
“House majority members obviously sought to arrive at some agreement without adding language such as “sexual orientation and gender identity,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.” But Rep. Stam on Tuesday was right and simply pointing out that ‘sexual orientation’ is a broad and very vague term, which is not easily defined and may also include some very undesirable sexual practices. As such, it should not be codified into law.”
“We understand the list from 2000 that Stam passed out — which was in fact one that the Christian Action League had provided to lawmakers in 2009 — has now been updated,” Dr. Creech said. “But the truth is there remains no clear definition of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is constituted by no more than subjective feelings and desires on which, unfortunately, there is no strong moral consensus today. The American Psychological Association once classified pedophilia as a sexual orientation and included it on a long list of disorders known as paraphilias. It’s really been political pressure that caused the APA, not the science, to continually adjust their lists of disorders and keep the definition of ‘sexual orientation’ on a continuum so they can add to it as they will.”
Dr. Creech also pointed to a 2013 Time magazine article which highlighted the work of Dr. Fred Berlin, a Johns Hopkins University professor who founded the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma. According to the article, Berlin and many others in his field consider pedophilia “a distinct sexual orientation marked by persistent, sometimes exclusive, attraction to prepubescent children.”
A North Carolina Family Policy Council press release on the issue said school nondiscrimination policies that include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” not only open the door for the promotion in the classroom of homosexuality and transgender behavior, but also “lay the groundwork for policies that allow children struggling with gender identity issues to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice.”
“Along with legitimizing these behaviors under the law, pro-homosexual nondiscrimination policies pose a significant threat to religious freedom, free speech, and parental rights,” the NCFPC reported.
Ramsey’s amendment passed, 115 to 0, and the bill passed, 97 to 18. It now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.
Lawmakers Pass Hope 4 Haley Measure Awaits Governor’s Signature
In other Legislative action, Hope 4 Haley and Friends, H 1220, is headed to the Governor for his signature after passing both the House and Senate. The long–awaited law is designed to help those with intractable seizure disorders gain access to hemp extract. The House had already passed the measure, but had to hold one more vote because of a small change approved in the Senate, that of adding East Carolina University to the list of medical colleges potentially involved in the pilot program.