Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Gay-Straight Club Banl

Today is the last day of the Utah State Legislative session. After having wasted our time on several silly bills that will amount to very little, they are finally buckling down on some real issues.

One bill that was passed back on February 22 caught my eye, though. Utah Senate Bill 97 (Student Club Amendments) passed the Senate, 18 to 11. I don't know if it's hit the House yet. This is a bill that, in many ways, targets Gay-Straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in high schools and tries to ban them by using broader language.

Sen. Chris Buttars, the sponsor of the bill said, ``We're not declaring any club that's out there unlawful. What we have done is present an outline of criteria that schools can use to evaluate (clubs) of all sorts. It can apply to any groups. The only group that's made this their battle ground is the gay and lesbian community.''

In session, however, his rhetoric targeted gay-straight alliance clubs. He even got permission to have a citizen recount a family story of a niece who had attended a GSA at her high school and then said attempts were made to "recruit" her to homosexuality.

Most gay and lesbians I know would deny ever trying to recruit anyone, claiming it's not really a matter of choice. Many supporters of GSAs say that they are only there to promote tolerance of others. They're trying to reduce hate related violence in their schools.

Now that you've got some background, let me bare my neck and take a stand. I hope this bill passes the house. I really do. It has nothing to do with how I feel about homosexuality. I think people who commit violent acts just because someone is different from you should be prosecuted for each and every one of those violent acts. But I also don't think that a high school club should be based on sexuality.

"But they're not based on sex!" scream the pundits. Yes, they are. Whether you like it or not, the lines are drawn in that club based on sexual preferences. I don't think high school students are mature enough to even figure out how to deal with their own sexuality, let alone define it. The hormones unleashed on them at puberty are still raging in their systems and most of them are still trying to sort all of that out.

Guess what, in Utah schools it takes permission from parents to talk about the physical aspects of human sexuality. Why is homosexual sex being treated as something they don't need permission to talk about, when heterosexual sex is?

"But that's not what we're about!" the pundits scream again. It doesn't matter. There is a thing called the "law of unintended consequences" at work here. Kids are curious. At that age they're mostly curious about sex. They can't help it. They're going ask questions. They're going to invite each other to participate in sexual exploration outside of the confines of the club in order to answer those questions. Without intending to, these clubs will foster an atmosphere where sexual promiscuousness is encouraged, peer to peer.

Think my argument is baseless? Feel free to comment and blow holes in it.

Let the flaming begin.

No comments: