Teen Dating Violence Bill Excludes Gays

Seeking to keep the reality of gay relationships out of the minds of young people, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill today that bans discussion of gay relationships when instructing high school and middle school students about dating violence.

A bill approved by the House today in a 75 to 25 vote would require schools to distribute information to parents and students about abusive teen relationships, including an amendment requiring the literature to only reference heterosexual relationships.

It would appear to reasonable people that the discussion of a sexual relationship at all in this type of literature would be muted or neutered regardless of sexuality. But Rep. Greg Delleney, the Chester Republican who authored the amendment, says that he doesn’t want students learning about same-sex relationships. The author of the bill, Rep. Joan Brady (R-Richland) says she’s comfortable with the amendment because much of the violence occurs in “girl-boy relationships.”

The State report cites a 2007 state Education Department survey that found nearly 14 percent of S.C. students reported being “hit,slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend” in the previous 12 months. One can assume that the violence these students were subjected to was not contingent on their heterosexuality.

Of the Charleston delegation, local Democrats Anne Peterson-Hutto and David Mack both voted against the measure. Three other Charleston Democrats, Leon Stavrinakis, Seth Whipper, and Wendell Gilliard were either not present for the vote or did not vote.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell and almost all of the rest of the Republicans in the Charleston delegation supported the bill. Daniel Island representative Jim Merrill did not vote.

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