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Jewish World Review May 27, 2003 / 25 Iyar, 5763

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Consumer Reports

The gay sword of tolerance

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Homosexual activists insist they don't want special rights; they just want to be left alone to do as they please. But at what point does the vindication of their rights become an encroachment on the rights of others? Two proposed California bills illuminate the issue.

AB 661 would amend current California law to provide that schools will be allowed to administer anonymous questionnaires to their students, without parental knowledge or consent, regarding school safety, school violence or discrimination. Questions about the student's perceived gender or sexual orientation could be included.

This means that young California students could be placed in the position of contemplating their sexuality and sexual orientation without their parents even knowing about it.

What would motivate California lawmakers to propose such an odious measure that would allow the state, essentially, to encourage children to deal with these issues? Is it the state's business to be initiating these dialogues?

The state's imprimatur on such questionnaires surely implies a value judgment in favor of homosexual behavior that many parents -- even in California -- might reject (at the risk of being called homophobes).

And the state's extreme step of removing the requirement of parental consent is a gross usurpation of parental rights and authority. Indeed, Karen England, Legislative Liaison for Capitol Resource Institute, said, "We are especially outraged by this attempt to push parents out of the process. What is it that they want to discuss with 7-year-old Johnny that is too controversial to be discussed with Johnny's 30-year-old mom?"

Is homosexual behavior considered so sacrosanct that the state is willing to take the parents out of the loop for fear that they might teach their children contrary values? There is no excuse under any circumstances, except for situations involving child endangerment perhaps, for Big Brother to supersede the role of the parents in this way. But that's exactly what is going on with AB 458 as well, only this one deals not with natural or adoptive parents, but foster parents.

Last year, I wrote about a proposed piece of legislation in California, AB 2651, which would have allowed a boy in foster care to report his foster parents to family services for a civil rights violation if they refused to permit him to dress like a girl. The bill also would have encouraged California counties to provide sensitivity training for foster parents on "sexual orientation, gender identity and the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth, or youth with gender issues."

Amazingly, Governor Gray Davis vetoed the bill, but you must remember he was up for re-election at the time. Now, he's not, and the bill's back with a new number, AB 458, offered by the same legislator, Judy Chu. It already passed in the California Assembly and is headed for the Senate. Could there have been a tacit understanding that if Chu brought up the bill again after the election, Davis would sign it? We'll have to wait and see.

Actually AB 458 is worse than AB 2651 in that it would affirmatively require foster parents to undergo sensitivity training, whereas AB 2651 would have only encouraged counties to provide the training.

The new bill, like its predecessor, would also prohibit foster parents from discriminating against children under their care on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This means that foster parents could not teach their foster children that homosexual behavior is wrong, even if their religious beliefs compelled them to do so, without violating the law against discrimination. Where's the ACLU? Where is Americans United for Separation of Church and State? If their goal is to drive Christians out of foster parenting, AB 458 should go a long way toward accomplishing it.

These bills show the double standards of the homosexual lobby and the liberal groups supporting them in a number of ways. In the name of tolerance, they demonstrate intolerance toward Christians and their values. They constitute state endorsement of religious beliefs in violation of the Establishment Clause every bit as much as many activities these groups denounce on those grounds, such as voluntary school prayer. They grossly violate the religious freedom of the parents and foster parents these groups pretend to champion. And AB 458 arguably invades the so-called privacy rights of foster parents to raise foster children as they see fit in their own homes.

(If they can raise the privacy flag to cover every conceivable situation, so can I.)

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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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