Thursday, May 19, 2011
Posted by Kevin Allman on Thu, May 19, 2011 at 1:49 PM
Despite last-minute revisions designed to mollify family-values conservatives, Rep. Austin Badon’s anti-bullying bill went down in flames today at a contentious session of the Louisiana House. HB 112, known as the “Safe Schools Bill,” was fiercely opposed by the Louisiana Family Forum and Louisiana Baptists; it failed in a 53-43 vote.
On May 18, John Yeats, the communications director for the Louisiana Baptists, wrote that the Baptists “despise bullying,” but the bill “has been hijacked by the Gay and Lesbian lobby by creating special classes of persons who are often victims of bullying.”
Earlier in the day, the House had amended the bill to remove a passage that cited “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, physical characteristic, political persuasion, mental disability, or physical disability, as well as attire or association with others identified by such categories.” This wasn’t enough for Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, who was quoted by Walter Pierce of The Independent as telling fellow lawmakers, “This bill was intended to promote an agenda and force teaching alternative lifestyles to our children. Every person who testified [on behalf of the bill] was either gay or testifying on behalf of someone who is gay, so let’s not delude ourselves about the intent of this bill.”
Seabaugh later added, “This language [in the bill] is straight out of the lesbian, gay, transgender playbook.”
The Independent also quoted a frustrated Badon addressing the chamber after the vote:
“It’s a sad day in Louisiana. We have the authority and the power to address this issue. It’s a sad day when we won’t stand up and help the parents. For us to sit here and say that the conservative, religious right is going to dictate to us how we’re going to vote, I’m embarrassed by that. You should be ashamed of that. ...You got sidetracked, folks, you got sidetracked. You had the old okey-doke pulled on you. ...We turned this issue into something completely different than what it was.”Most of the New Orleans-area delegation voted for Badon’s bill, including Reps. Neil Abramson, Jeffery Arnold, Jared Brossett, Walker Hines, Juan LaFonta, Walt Leger III, Helena Moreno and Charmaine Marchand Stiaes. Reps. Cameron Henry and Nick Lorusso voted against it.
-End of article -
I sent the following message to Mr. Seabaugh on 5/19/11:
"You are an embarrassment to Shreveport and to the State of Louisiana.
I sincerely hope your kids never get bullied in school - and that someone steps up to the plate & teaches them to not be prejudiced against people who are not white, wealthy, and conservative.
Maybe someday, you will learn that lesson yourself.
I will be praying for you, and for all those kids who remain unprotected at school due to your lack of compassion and moral diligence."
Mr. Seabaugh's response this morning, 5/20/11:
"If the bill would have addressed bullying, I would have made sure it passed. But this bill was model legislation used in other states to force school systems to teach elementary school kids about homosexual lifestyles. That would be an embarrassment to Louisiana!! If you would do a little research before going off half cocked, you would see that everything I said yesterday was exactly correct."
My response to Mr. Seabaugh this morning, 5/20/11:
"Just as I suspected, your eloquence & logic are overwhelmingly banal.
The entire bill "addresses" bullying. Believe it or not, I can read, sir.
YOU picked out the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression," to quash a model anti-hate bill which would have positively affected thousands of children in our state's school system.
Regardless of what you attorney/legislator/fear-monger/fundamentalist-type legislators believe, people who differ from your constricted views of "normalcy" are STILL human beings. They are created by God, and deserve equal protection, love and compassion.
Just like you do.
I suggest that you, sir, study the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Mr. Seabaugh's response this morning, 5/20/11:
"There are currently 28 laws, statutes and regulations in Louisiana which prohibit bullying. This bill added nothing except to open our schools to the teaching of the LGBT agenda. I have studied the teachings of Jesus Christ and I agree with his teachings regarding homosexuality. It is a sin plain and simple and it does not need to be taught in our schools. I was taught long ago to avoid getting into a debate with an idiot. It was said that the idiot would simply bring me down to her level and beat me with experience. So, in keeping with my education, I will now discontinue this discussion."
My final response to Mr. Seabaugh this morning, 5/20/11:
"May God have mercy on your soul, sir.
Peace. - Debbie Buchanan Engle"