Cory Gardner Helps Vote Down Anti-Bullying Bill

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

The Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton reports on the defeat yesterday of an amendment from Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota to protect K-12 LGBT students from bullying and discrimination:

In its first vote affecting gay people since the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, the Senate Tuesday rejected a federal prohibition against discrimination and bullying in K-12 public schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Fifty-two Senators voted for such a provision, while 45 opposed it. But Senate rules required 60 votes, and the measure fell short.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the sponsor of the amendment, had made an impassioned argument that gay and transgender students needed the same federal protections as other historically persecuted groups.

“If a black child was referred to by a racial slur at school, would we say kids will be kids?” Franken said on the Senate floor as debate began Monday. “If a Jewish student got beat up because he wore a yarmulke to school, would we wave it off and say boys will be boys? If a shop teacher told a female student she didn’t belong in his class, would we be fine if the school just looked the other way? No, we would not. In fact, there are federal civil rights laws that are specifically designed to stop this kind of conduct.”

As Buzzfeed’s Dominick Holden reports, there was bipartisan support for Sen. Franken’s amendment:

Introduced by Sen. Franken of Minnesota, the amendment before lawmakers on Tuesday had 42 sponsors, including one Republican — Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois. At least five more senators from the GOP — Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins, Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, and Rob Portman — joined Kirk in voting for the amendment.

Missing from the list above of moderate Republican Senators who joined with Democrats to vote to stop LGBT student bullying is Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. We haven’t seen a statement from Gardner yet explaining his vote, but the general excuse offered by Republican “no” votes seems to be that “the matter” of LGBT students being bullied is best “left to local school districts.”

Assuming that was Gardner’s reasoning as well, we can’t help but recall the recent controversy in Jefferson County, in which majority school board member Julie Williams posted materials on Facebook directing followers to join a protest against LGBT students on campus, and against teaching “children to support and embrace the unnatural and unhealthy homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda.”

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine a better argument to refute Gardner’s vote for “local control” of LGBT student bullying policies than Julie Williams. We’ll be very interested to see if local reporters ask Gardner to reconcile his vote with her behavior.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    "Missing from the list above of moderate Republican Senators . . . "

    Damnit — people at the restaurant here are staring at me and the ice tea coming out of my nose!!

  2. Zappatero says:

    The bipartisan hero of this story, Mark Kirk, also thinks Obama wants to let Iran get nukes:

    Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, "moderate" Republican, running for re-election in a blue state in a presidential year, has utterly lost his shit:

    Under the Bob Corker legislation that recently passed, Congress can do a resolution of disapproval and the president can veto it. The only reason why the president supported the Corker legislation is because it allows him to get what he wants on Iran, which is to get nukes to Iran.

    That's from a brand-new interview with Boston's WRKO and shared by Buzzfeed. But this wasn't just one blurry throwaway line that Kirk can try to excuse away by claiming he misspoke. Oh no. The entire discussion focused on the Iran deal, which Kirk histrionically freaked over as two fawning hosts, enraptured by Kirk's previous service as a military intelligence officer, challenged exactly zero of his lunatic assertions.

    Like, say, going full Godwin:

    This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler. 

    He is doing this because of his very poor understanding of history and what happened to Neville Chamberlain. And Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler, but the key lesson of the 1930s is that appeasement leads directly to war.

    Of course this freak is fearmongering to his base, about the only Republican strategy remaining that's sure to work, but if we have to wait for someone like this to agree about bullying, or anything, then the U.S. Senate has its legislative priorities mixed up. And whether a bill has "bipartisan support" should have nothing, and I mean NOTHING, to do with anyone's decision to support a given policy. 

    Strikethrough was designed for this effing word: bipartisanship

  3. Moderatus says:

    The only problem is, Williams posted that link by accident and immediately apologized. No students were bullied, and Williams went to great pains to explain she does not discriminate against any students.

    Love the sinner, hate the sin.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Mods, if you follow Julie Williams on Facebook, as I do,you would see that she constantly posts unprofessional items.

      * Criticizing common core- Which her district is committed to using via the PARCC tests.

      *Recommending that the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) not be re-authorized, when her district gets millions of dollars in federal funding because of the ESEA.

      *Same with NCLB (No Child Left Behind)

      * She's still crusading against the AP Social Studies curriculum, the issue that outraged thousands of Jeffco students and parents so much that schools had to close because there were no students or teachers in them.

      *And I'm sorry, someone who is in a position of authority over young people, as she is, doesn't get a pass on posting something which will condone bullying and discrimination, and saying, "Oh, that was an accident. I didn't mean it." She posted it twice, anyway.

      I take screenshots of some of these when I see them,and occasionally post them. Suffice to say, she does not take her job seriously – the mission of a school board member is not to further a partisan agenda. Her responsibilities are" educational planning and evaluation, staffing and appraisal, school facilities, financial resources and communication." From Jeffco BOE page

      I wouldn't even care about her conservative politics – and the point is that nobody should know about her politics. Educators are supposed to keep our own political agendas out of our instruction. Educators need to focus on educating kids and running a system well.  She doesn't do that.


    • Progressicat says:

      Moderatus, thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

      Williams posted the link intentionally, not accidentally.  She claims only that she posted it in ignorance of its content.

      Reactions, many negative, came in regarding her posting almost immediately.  She did not remove the post and apologize for two days.

      Why are you lying?

      Just hating the sin.

  4. FrankUnderwood says:

    This is about freedom. What about the rights of bullies?  Do the children of homophobic, bigoted parents not have a First Amendment rights to harass and torment suspected LGBT children? 

  5. Arvadonian1 says:

    It is good to know that bullies have their voice in DC.  Way to pick an underrepresented constituency Cory!!

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