When Rep. Will Kraus, R-Dist. 48, switched into anti-gay mode and ranted about the “homosexual agenda” on the House floor early this week, Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, R-St. Louis, thought she might slow him up a bit by asking: “Could you tell me what that agenda is? I didn’t get the memo.” As she told me, “When I get up in the morning, my agenda is usually to check my e-mail, do my leg loosening exercises, and make sure Dorothy’s mom’s meds are laid out.”
Don’t think your question fooled him for a second, Ms. Oxford. He-e-e knows. HE-E-E knows what your agenda is, lady. … And he’s not going to dignify your smart-ass inquiry with an answer. But he and Jane Cunningham and Sally Kern know what you’re up to.
The Republican obsession with gays would be almost cute, if it weren’t so dangerous.
Let me illustrate by giving the backstory on Kraus’ rant. He was protesting a bill introduced by Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, to undo the zip-a-lip legislation Jane Cunningham got enacted on the anti-bullying issue. Cunningham got all horrified that school districts conducting anti-bullying training were often specifying as part of that training that threatening gays was not a very civil way to behave. So Cunningham got a bill passed saying that such training could not specify categories of people that ought not to be bullied–like people of a different race, ethnicity, religion … or sexual orientation. Cunningham’s take was that handing out the vague advice that bullying is bad ought to be sufficient. Let people extrapolate from that for themselves.
To counter the notion that such vague advice works well enough, Oxford told me about a junior high student in her district who wore a rainbow belt buckle to school and got told that she was going to get her ass kicked at the bus stop. That was scary enough to get the girl to mention the threats to a couple of teachers, to no avail. So the girl asked Oxford and Scott Emmanuel to accompany her in a visit to her principal.
For all the good that did. The principal asked the girl if she had told anyone she was gay, and the girl said she had told one person that she thought she might be. The principal’s conclusion: then the threats are your own fault. You should have kept the information secret.
So much for extrapolation.
Except that I have a wee bit of extrapolating to do. Considering, as Sean at Fired Up! pointed out a week ago, that 16 House Democrats have yet to see even one of their bills so much as assigned to a committee, isn’t it surprisingly kind of the Republican leadership to let Lampe’s amendment make it as far as the floor? It’s not like it had a prayer (if you’ll excuse me for bordering on heresy) of passing, even after Lampe weakened it to say that each school district could decide for itself which categories to mention or leave out.
Could it be that House Republicans wanted an excuse to get publicly angry and righteous for the troops back home? And then publicly vote the amendment down?
Mind you, that’s just a guess.