Rep. Michele Bachmann rediscovers her anti-gay ways

by October 19, 2009

Bachmann

It’s been a while since Rep. Michele Bachmann pushed for anti-gay policy — actually since she was elected to Congress. After building her career by championing anti-gay marriage amendments and opposing LGBT issue in education, she picked up her old cause by trying to get a gay Obama appointee fired.

Bachmann joined about 50 Republicans members of in calling for the firing of openly gay Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. At least one of the Republican’s charges against Jennings, however, was false… and another charge smacks of blatant homophobia.

“Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools — an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children,” the letter, written by Iowa Rep. Steve King, reads. “The totality of Mr. Jennings’ career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”

The letter also says Jennings failed to report the sexual abuse of a minor which is false.

“In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man,” the letter reads. “Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes.”

Except that the student in question was 16 years old at the time which is above the age of consent, and says no sexual contact ever occurred.

Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody’s concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my “well-being” and that of America’s students, they’ll be relieved to know that I was not “inducted” into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery.

In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation’s students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings’ courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I’d be the proud gay man that I am today.

Meanwhile, Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out recalls some of Bachmann’s more anti-gay moments.

Here’s the full text of the letter Bachmann signed:

We respectfully request that you remove Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, from your Administration. It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity.

As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools—an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children. As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students. The totality of Mr. Jennings’ career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.

Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings’ self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the “safe schools” czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.

As the “safe schools” czar, Mr. Jennings is also charged with ensuring our schools and students are drug free. It is clear that Mr. Jennings is unfit to serve in this capacity, as well. His own history of unrepentant drug and alcohol abuse indicates that he is of the opinion that getting drunk and high as a young person is acceptable. In his memoir, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, Mr. Jennings describes his use of illegal drugs, without expressing regret or acknowledging the devastating effects illegal drug use can have on a person’s life.

Everyone that deals with the education of the most vulnerable must be a positive role model. Our children are not blessed with the wisdom to discern and reject. Children presume the adults who educate them are approved by the larger society and their parents. Kevin Jennings cannot gain the approval of parents who want their children safe and their schools drug free. You should replace him with someone who has a record of educating children in a safe and moral environment.

Given these very serious issues with Mr. Jennings’ record, we urge you to remove him immediately.

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