COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers want to prevent violence in teen relationships but won't allow a new school program aimed at curbing such abuse to mention gay and lesbian partnerships.
State representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday to bar any mention of homosexual relationships in the new program for middle and high school students. The move was pushed by lawmakers who said they don't want schools
teaching about gay relationships and said they doubt those partnerships have high levels of abuse.
"I do not want the Department of Education or school districts teaching our children in grades six through 12 about same-sex relationships," said Rep. Greg Delleney, a Chester Republican who pushed to make the violence prevention program apply only to heterosexual relationships. "I'm sure it would develop into that."
The measure, which was swiftly condemned by gay rights advocates passed the GOP-dominated House 75-25 and should head to the Senate next week. It initially was intended to curb youth violence in a state that consistently ranks high in the number of women killed by men.
Steve Ralls, national spokesman for Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, said he had not heard of another state with an anti-dating violence program that excluded same-sex relationships. ~snip