Oregonians Will Decide Whether to Curb Homosexual Teaching in Schools
July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM
(CNSNews.com) - Oregon voters will decide November 7th whether to prohibit the state's public schools and community colleges from encouraging, promoting or sanctioning homosexual and bisexual behavior.
The "Student Protection Act," or Measure 9 is a major effort to rein in the so-called "diversity" programs that critics say are really aimed at advancing the homosexual agenda in public schools. However, seven weeks before the election, voters are virtually deadlocked over the issue.
Measure 9 was crafted by the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA), a grassroots coalition of parent volunteers of all political stripes that collected the required signatures to place the measure on the fall ballot.
A spokesperson at the Oregon Secretary of State's office said Monday the petition signatures had been verified, clearing the way for the initiative to appear on the ballot.
If approved, Measure 9 would authorize the state to withhold taxpayer dollars from schools that violated the law. In particular, the initiative says "sexual orientation, as it relates to homosexuality and bisexuality, is a divisive subject matter and not necessary to the instruction of students in public schools."
Among those lobbying for passage of Measure 9 are four Portland, Oregon public school teachers, Jose Solano, John Ditmore, Terry Williams and Roberta Stubbs, who bought an ad in Portland's "The Oregonian" newspaper to complain about the school district "trying to indoctrinate students and staff into affirming and celebrating homosexual practices."
The teachers believe the school district has gone "far beyond the civil rights issue."
"It is indeed our preference that public schools not become involved in any assault on the value systems of our numerous cultures, religions, and on the general common sense of many families who see homosexuality as a problematic lifestyle," the protest ad said.
The four teachers accused the Portland Public Schools Sexual Diversity Committee (SDC) of "providing a safer environment for students with homosexual inclinations."
According to the newspaper ad, "The SDC has disseminated hundreds of what we see as pro-homosexuality propaganda books to children at all grade levels. Teachers asked that they mail this list to residents but they refused in fear of public outcry. Teachers also asked that the district's pro-homosexuality view be balanced with other views from psychologists and psychiatrists as well as from ex-homosexuals but to date they have refused."
"Although every major religion opposes homosexual practices and a public school district should not be an affront to the religious standards of students and parents, we are not approaching this issue from the religious perspective but from the scientific. Any atheist or agnostic can read and appreciate the scientific facts and say "no" to promoting homosexual practices in public schools," the ad stated.
Efforts to reach Pat Burk, an assistant school superintendent on the Sexual Diversity Committee were unsuccessful.
However, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) denounced the initiative, calling it "misleading" because it would not "protect, but further isolate some of the most at-risk members of the public school community: lesbian and gay youth."
"Schools need to be places where every student is treated equally and fairly. This measure delivers a heavy dose of anti-gay discrimination into our classrooms, requiring schools to send the message that certain students don't deserve support, tolerance or respect. OCA leader Lon Mabon is asking Oregon's public schools to serve his well-documented and infamously anti-gay agenda," GLSEN National Field Director John Spear said.
In a statement defending Measure 9, Mabon complained that "diversity teaches that sexual orientation is not a sexual sin but a minority on an equal level with one's race, national origin or religion", and argued that "when students master their diversity lessons and embrace homosexuality, it will be because the public schools will have promoted, encouraged and sanctioned homosexuality to them."
In an interview with CNSNews.com, Mabon denied Spear's charge that he is pursuing an anti-homosexual agenda.
"That's silly. It's absolutely silly. The point is we agree with Mister Spear, that every student should have equal access to a good education and that they should be respected as human beings. But that doesn't mean that we should allow GLSEN to promote homosexuality and bisexuality to the students through his advocated programs," Mabon said.
An opinion poll conducted by "The Oregonian" newspaper and KATU-TV and released Monday showed 47 percent in support of the Student Protection Act and 48 percent opposed. Five percent said they were undecided. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.