The Pinellas County School Board in Florida has decided to reject a $54,000 grant from The Boy Scouts of America for a “Learning for Life,” citing discrimination against gay youth by the organization. Learning for Life” is a character education program in schools. It teaches students values like respect, responsibility, honesty and fairness. (Fairness? Really?)
Board Member Linda Lerner has asked the board to split from the program for the past 10 years. Saying that “The board had a chance to send a strong message to the Boy Scouts” and after the vote that she was “pleasantly surprised, and I believe that it is so good for our district for our educators, students, and citizens, gay and straight,”
Lerner’s son is gay, but she said her opposition to the program is not personal.
“It was the driving force of becoming educated and being an advocate for human rights for all,” she said
The United Kingdom’s international development secretary Andrew Mitchell has gone on record warning that the UK government will cut aid to poor countries such as Uganda and Ghana for their hardline anti-gay laws and persecution of gay people.
“The government is committed to combating violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all circumstances, in this country and abroad. We take action where we have concerns.
“We now allocate funds every three months, rather than every year, so that we can review a country’s performance, for example on human rights, and take swift action when governments fall short. We only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty and respect human rights.”
Malawi, which sentenced a couple to 14 years’ hard labour for contravening anti-gay laws, has already had its aid cut by £19 million.
Ghana will lose £36 million and Uganda £70 million a year from Great Britain unless they stop persecuting gay people.
Gillibrand has quickly worked up a reputation as a friend to LGBTs, one thing is becoming clear: She’s not taking cues from the folks claiming to represent them. According to The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s Aubrey Sarvis: “It’s helpful to talk about cutting funding for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ discharges, but we must be strategic about when such a move would be made and now is premature.”
(Premature? Its a measure to just stop discharges until this clusterfuck of a repeal goes through.)
Instead, Sarvis wants to build on the Senate’s DADT hearings that has the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs chairman, and the White House on the same page about a repeal. Pushing for a vote for the full-on repeal of DADT, perhaps via the Military Readiness Act, is his preferred game plan. Which would take at least a year or two and lead to many more discharges in the mean time.
Whats surprising is that these military groups are publically disapproving of Gillibrand’s technique is that their distrust of the senator’s strategy also means they were not, and are not in agreement with Gilliibrand’s office on how to move forward which probably means one of two things.
Gillibrand’s play on DADT might just be a calculated November election move or does she have a clearer picture of where her lawmaking colleagues stand than activist groups?
If I were to pick I would say its the latter and not the former.