Michigan Takes Small Steps Toward a Better Anti-Bullying Law

After Republican state senators in Michigan changed an anti-bullying law to allow bullying if it was due to a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction,” there was an uproar from state Democrats, GLBT students and allies, atheists, progressives, anyone with a heart… basically, everyone except those Republican state senators.

It appears to be making a difference as the bill moves to the House:

Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, is working on a compromise this week that will “bring everyone to the middle of the road and provide protection to all students,” said Ari Adler, Bolger’s spokesman.

Adler said Bolger supports anti-bullying legislation that is general and protects all students equally.

“He does not support legislation that would enumerate specific groups for additional protection, nor does he support a bill that would provide an excuse for someone to bully someone else.”

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-Lansing, said in a news release today that she wants Bolger to ensure the bill is comprehensive in its protections.

Right now, there’s no word on what the revision would be. But it’s a start. Anything that lets Christians off the hook for bullying gay students because Jesus commanded them to do it isn’t just a waste of time — it’s downright harmful. It encourages them to verbally abuse gay students and tell them they’re abnormal or unworthy of true love. It gives them license to try to “cure” gay students of their orientation through any number of means. And it may even protect them from punishment if they physically abuse gay students.

Christians ought to be leading the fight to fix the current law so that all students are protected from bullying and school administrators are held accountable for how they respond to such incidents. But since they’re not going to do it, the rest of us can keep the pressure on the Michigan House to make things right again.

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