Illinois Lawmakers Defeat Anti-Bullying Bill

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An Illinois measure designed to prevent school bullying fell one vote short of passage in the state Senate.

The legislation would have mandated that anti-bullying policies define bullying and expressly state that such behavior is illegal.

But conservative lawmakers like state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Highland, said the bill was being used to push a pro-gay agenda.

"There are anti-bullying programs that have an agenda to only protect one class of individuals," McCarter said, prior to the bill's 29-30 defeat on Tuesday.

"Some of these programs are very good. They indeed encourage kids not to bully," McCarter added.

"But there are programs throughout the United States, used in some high schools and universities, that really have just a pro-homosexual agenda, and nothing but that," he said.

McCarter's words echoed those of several conservative Christian groups in Illinois that voiced concerns the bill could force students to attend indoctrination sessions on homosexuality

They asked for an opt-out provision in the bill, which would allow students to sit out of anti-bullying interventions designed to challenge their religious convictions.

"What we're asking is that they just include a sentence saying that no student or school personnel be required to participate in any activities or program that conflicts with their personal or religious beliefs," Laurie Higgins, with the Illinois Family Institute, said.

The Illinois Family Institute said they are concerned that gay activist groups want to end bullying by normalizing homosexuality.

The Illinois State Board of Education, the American Civil Liberties Union, and several gay rights groups support the bill.

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