State College School District Took Wrong Step, Now Must Continue Down That Road
(Harrisburg) The State College School District made its first mistake by offering health insurance benefits to opposite sex domestic partners as well as married couples. In May they were sued by a lesbian employee to extend those benefits to her and her partner and to change their policy to also include same-sex domestic partners. Last night the school district, under pressure from the ACLU and the lesbian couple, voted to change its health insurance coverage policies to include same-sex domestic partners. The American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), a traditional values group, notes that State College School District made the initial missteps by offering those benefits to unmarried couples. But even more troubling is the consent decree includes that the school will “develop and act upon ‘anti-discrimination’ policies for staff and students to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity.’ ”
“A school district or any entity opens Pandora’s Box when its policies extend beyond support of traditional marriage and family. Because of State College’s health insurance policy including unmarried couples, they are now forced into a further expenditure of money by including same-sex couples,” remarked Diane Gramley, President of the AFA of PA.
Apparently the State College School District was so willing to bow to pressure from the ACLU that they unquestioningly included a change in their anti-discrimination policy as part of the consent decree. But this is history repeating itself as they passed a similar policy which was struck down by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001. With Judge, now US Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito ruling in Saxe v. State College Area Sch. Dist. that “There is of course no question that non-expressive, physically harassing conduct is entirely outside the ambit of the free speech clause. But there is also no question that the free speech clause protects a wide variety of speech that listeners may consider deeply offensive, including statements that impugn another’s race or national origin or that denigrate religious beliefs. When laws against harassment attempt to regulate oral or written expression on such topics, however detestable the views expressed may be, we cannot turn a blind eye to the First Amendment implications.” Only time will tell as to how this second attempt will end.
“Mike Hardy, the acting superintendent, has made it very clear that these changes in the student and staff anti-discrimination policies will mean the district will be open to hiring men wearing dresses to teach first grade. He has no problem with that and maybe that’s part of the problem with the school district. Parents need to be fully informed that this policy change not only means men wearing dresses teaching first grade, but it also means such gender confused individuals will be permitted to use the restroom with which they are most comfortable,” Gramley warned.
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