Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Buttars Bill to be Signed

Our favorite loony state legislator, Utah Sen. Chris Buttars, has succeeded in passing a bill that would allow schools to ban GSA clubs from schools in that state. The bill would do two things. First, it would require that students get parental permission to participate in any student club; this is designed specifically to prevent those students who haven’t revealed their homosexuality to their parents from being able to find any support at all (because that’s just what Jesus would do, you know). Second, it would allow schools to ban those clubs it decides are immoral. Here’s the final text of the bill as passed. I’ll post the relevant portion below the fold.

(1) A school shall limit or deny authorization or school building use to a club or require changes prior to granting authorization or school building use:

(a) as the school determines it to be necessary to:
(i) protect the physical, emotional, psychological, or moral well-being of students and faculty;
(ii) maintain order and discipline on school premises;
(iii) prevent a material and substantial interference with the orderly conduct of a
school’s educational activities;
(iv) protect the rights of parents or guardians and students;
(v) maintain the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior; or
(vi) ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies; or
(b) whose proposed charter and proposed activities indicate students or advisors in club related activities would as a substantial, material, or significant part of their conduct or means of expression:
(i) encourage criminal or delinquent conduct;
(ii) promote bigotry;
(iii) involve human sexuality; or
(iv) involve any effort to engage in or conduct mental health therapy, counseling, or psychological services for which a license would be required under state law.

Of course, Buttars has been trying for years to find any way of getting Gay/Straight Alliance clubs out of schools in Utah. A suit will be filed immediately on this and it will likely be overturned. The Equal Access Act guarantees the right to form such clubs and it has been upheld by the courts many times.

Update: My only reader in Utah (presumably) informs me that the bill has not passed yet. Two different versions apparently passed the House and the Senate, but the House then voted to reconsider because they disagreed with the more restrictive Senate version. It’s now in conference committee trying to work out the differences. Stay tuned for updates.

Comments

  1. #1 kehrsam
    February 23, 2007

    I can see how this would prevent NAMBLA from forming a chapter on campus. Nothing much seems to apply to a GSA unless it means the school is going to arbitrarily claim the GSA is all about sex. GSAs are not about sex: They are about orientation and self-awareness and coping with the stupid world we adults have created.

    On a related note, now that he has finally gotten something passed, isn’t it past time to come up with a descriptive term for the word “buttars?” Something along the lines of “santorum.”

  2. #2 Will
    February 23, 2007

    Nothing much seems to apply to a GSA unless it means the school is going to arbitrarily claim the GSA is all about sex.

    But to people like Buttard, these clubs are just about sex. Gay=constant butt sex for these people.

  3. #3 Jim Ramsey
    February 23, 2007

    (because that’s just what Jesus would do, you know)

    Ed,

    You happened on a really valid point. Someone once had a great line — “Jesus would go to Disney World, but only on gay days”.

  4. #4 Prup aka Jim Benton
    February 23, 2007

    kehrsam:
    Read on. Any club that has activites that ‘involve human sexuality’ may be banned.

    And some of those other clauses are doozies as well. A smart student in pre-law could, I’d guess, make a case for banning any student activity on one of these grounds. Chess club? Takes too much time from homework, and thus banning it “prevent(s) a material and substantial interference with the orderly conduct of a school’s educational activities”

    Cheerleading squad? Girls get hurt trying some of those routines. Ban it to “protect the physical…well-being of students and faculty”

    Debate club? Students are sometimes required to uphold positions they don’t agree with. Thus they are forced to ‘lie’ or defend ‘immorality.’ Ban it to “protect the … moral well-being of students and faculty”

    Religious or political clubs? Every political or religious position encourages opposition from bigots. Ban it.

    Anybody want to come up with more?

  5. #5 Russell Claus
    February 23, 2007

    I see the name Buttars, and the ideas of this thread and I can’t help but think of the “butter” scene from Last Tango in Paris.

    You know what I’m talking about.

    But seriously we should be thanking Buttars for making sure we all Focus on the Anal Sex.

  6. #6 Todd Sayre
    February 23, 2007

    I can think of more problems with cheerleading than just the risk of injury. When we had pep rallies in high school me and my friends would always show up late and the administrators would make us sit down in front on the first row. Like it was supposed to be a punishment.

  7. #7 Dave
    February 23, 2007

    When I see Buttars’ name I think of the South Park character.

    I imagine rep. Buttars may have had a few problems with being teased in jr hi…I know my classmates (and I) would have been ruthless and that was in a catholic seminary…(not to worry, I’ve been in recovery).

    dave

  8. #8 Ben
    February 23, 2007

    For a second there when I read GSA.. I thought Girl Scouts of America. Oddly enough… the post still made almost exactly the same amount of sense.

  9. #9 Sastra
    February 23, 2007

    Bible study clubs frequently both “involve human sexuality” (don’t do it without marriage) and “involve any effort to engage in or conduct mental health therapy, counseling, or psychological services for which a license would be required under state law” (all personal problems can be solved by interpreting what the Bible says.) Buttars doesn’t seem to think his law is perhaps a tad too broad and could present problems if it happens to fall into the wrong hands.

  10. #10 raj
    February 24, 2007

    It would be comical if high school students, whether or not they are gay, would try to form a GSA and just to get this law thrown out after they are denied. Kids oftentimes just want to defy their parents.