Senate bill would require schools to enforce anti-bullying policies; WV abandons bill to add LGBT protections to anti-discrimination laws; Man excused from jury duty after claiming that being gay prevents him from being impartial; R.E.M’s Michael Stipe says he’s 80% gay.
- Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced a bill which would require schools receiving federal funding to adopt codes of conduct that specifically prohibit bullying and harassment of students, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It was also require schools to report bullying statistics to the Department of Education, who would then report to Congress. Sen. Casey said the bill will “help ensure that every child receives a quality education that builds self-confidence. This bill is a crucial step towards ensuring that no child is so afraid to go to school that he or she stays home for fear of bullying.”
- A bill which would have added sexual orientation to West Virgina’s anti-discrimination laws has died as the legislative session came to a close. Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler said that they did not take action on the bill this year because they didn’t think the House would pass it. Kessler said his next plan is to amend an anti-bullying bill (HB3225) to protect students based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
- Jonathan D. Lovitz was excused from jury duty for being gay. He said “During voir dire we were asked who would not be impartial. I raised my hand and said ‘since I can’t get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can’t possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class one in the eyes of this justice system.’ You wouldn’t believe how people in the room reacted.” Since you cannot be placed on a jury if you cannot commit to being impartial, he was excused.
- R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe discussed his sexuality in a recent interview with The Observer. He says that ”[o]n a sliding scale of sexuality I’d place myself around 80-20, but I definitely prefer men to women. I had sex with, and enjoyed sex with, women until I met someone that I fell in love with, and who is now my boyfriend.” He also says that personally he prefers the term “queer” because he “never identified with gay” and “hate and refuse to apply the term bisexual to myself.” He goes on to say, ”A lot of younger people have a much more it-is-what-it-is approach to sexuality. The black and white binary approach just does not work. So you find the terms that make you most comfortable.” Stipe currently lives with his partner, art photographer, Thomas Dozol.