Loudoun County School Board Meeting, June 14
The bottom line:
School Board counsel has clearly stated what we have been saying all along: what anti-gay activists found objectionable in the play “Offsides” cannot be prohibited without violating the law.
Prohibiting the discussion of sexual diversity, or the positive portrayal of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people would constitute unlawful viewpoint discrimination. Furthermore, using the “heckler’s veto” (an organized effort by one segment of the community to silence the voices of another, sometimes presented as “community outcry”) as the basis for such viewpoint discrimination has been explicitly rejected by the courts.
There is no place for bullying in a democracy.
Although some on the School Board Legislative and Policy Committee would prefer a policy that imposes their personal views about sexuality on our public schools (See It was late and they were tired. ), they have chosen at this time not to expose the county to the possibility of costly litigation.
However, there are still people (mostly representatives of national anti-gay organizations and certain elected officials) who are demanding special rights, insisting that only their viewpoint should be allowed expression.
We fully expect, from their statements to the press, letters and action alerts, that they will continue pressuring the School Board to codify their beliefs in policy, regardless of the law and the sensibilities of others.
This is not over yet.
Because of your letters to the editor, calls and emails to board members and your presence at meetings, the board knows that this community will not tolerate censorship and will be watching closely for any discriminatory treatment of GLBT students or their families. We need to continue our presence as the full board considers attempts by anti-gay activists to insert language that they believe will accomplish their goal – erasing our voices and existence.
The draft policy that the Legislative and Policy Committee will recommend to the full board, although imperfect, is a reasonable guideline for theatrical presentations that most of the county should be able to live with. The board members who want to do the right thing for the entire community need our support to resist those who are less reasonable.
If you can speak, please do so. Be aware that speaking time may be reduced to three minutes because of an anticipated large number of speakers. But PLEASE BE THERE.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.431.0882.