Setting an example for the kids

Published February 22, 2005 10:07PM (EST)

On Monday, the same day that it urged Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Arizona's Republican controlled House of Representatives voted 56-3 in favor of requiring its school districts to prohibit students from harassing, intimidating and bullying other pupils. In some respect, the legislation is reminiscent of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward gays: Schools will now have to find "confidential" means of reporting bullying incidents. Intimidation and harassment take place in schoolyards for a variety of reasons, but under this plan gay kids in Arizona will now be forced to keep their humiliation at the hands of bullies in the closet, along with their sexuality.

The anti-bully vote was practically unanimous, while the gay marriage ban was split down party lines (40-19). Most House Democrats voted against the latter measure, while almost every Republican voted in favor of it. Of course, this is no great surprise from a staunchly conservative House that last year sought to allow firearms in bars and restaurants, but didn't want to fund Governor Janet Napolitano's All-Day Kindergarten initiative, which gives Arizonans the option of having their kids attend all-day kindergarten/school classes so that they can work.

By Leigh Flayton

Leigh Flayton is editor in chief of Arizona Monthly magazine.

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