Minnesota ex-gay activist Janet Boynes and the antigay Parents Action League suffered a setback today, in their opposition to school antibullying policies that expressly protect sexual minorities.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, bullied students, the federal government, and Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin school district — the state’s largest — have tentatively settled lawsuits accusing the district of violating state and federal laws as well as students’ constitutional and human rights.
The SPLC, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and two law firms sued the district last year on behalf of five students, alleging that the district protected antigay harassment through a so-called “neutrality” policy, which forbade faculty from speaking out in defense of LGBT students and repudiating antigay bigotry.
Today’s tentative settlement would require the school district to take numerous steps to eliminate and prevent antigay harassment.
In August 2011, Boynes spoke for the district’s antigay supporters. In a letter to a local newspaper, reprinted by the Minnesota Independent, Boynes contended that “If we really care about our young people, we will do everything to steer them away from homosexuality and transgenderism, and the unhealthy sexual acts that are a part of these lifestyles.”
In December, according to the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Boynes told the school board that eliminating the gag policy on antigay bullying would lead to discussions in classrooms about LGBT issues and permit pro-equality activists to “force an acceptance of this behavior on kids and this school district.”
In January, according to CityPages, Boynes went still further — supporting the Parents Action League as it demanded that the schools distribute antigay and ex-gay literature; promote conversion therapy on the district’s web site; require nurses and guidance counselors to “ex-gay” training; and equate same-sex orientation with disorder and disease.
We await Boynes’ formal response to the settlement. Meantime, tonight Boynes tweeted to Fox News contributor Frank Shelton Jr. “Why won’t Fox news put us on there show?” In response to another fan, Boynes tweeted, “She [Michele Bachmann] will always be my friend!!”
** Additional deep background about Janet Boynes.