Gay Straight Clubs Bill Dies

January 17, 2007

Today the General Assembly voted on whether or not to require high school students to get written permission to join a club and the bill died in a tie vote.

The House Education Committee deadlocked nine to nine on a motion to send Delegate Matt Lohr's bill to the floor, but the issue isn't dead yet because another delegate has submitted a similar bill.

Gay rights groups have said that the bill is an attempt by conservatives to undermine gay straight alliances in high schools.

The say those clubs encourage tolerance and provide a safe haven for gay students to discuss their problems.

Lohr, a Harrisonburg Republican, claims that he is merely trying to give parents more say in their kids extracurricular activities.

He says that school boards in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County have already implemented such a plan and that it has worked beautifully.

Gay rights advocates that opposed the bill did not address the full committee but representatives of school boards, superintendents and teachers urged defeat of the bill.

They said it would create too much paperwork and would unfairly punish children whose parents take no interest in their school activities.

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