This is a huge letdown.
On Tuesday (July 14), an amendment that would ban discrimination against LGBT students in public schools was voted down by the Senate. While 52 senators voted for the amendment, 60 votes were required for passage -- shy by just eight votes.
The measure to amend the Every Child Achieves Act was first introduced by Sen. Franken of Minnesota and had 42 sponsors, including one Republican (Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois). The amendment would have protected LGBT students by banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, just as it's already banned based on sex, religion, and race. The legislation would also require staff to intervene if an LGBT student was being bullied or harrassed, and stop retaliation from schools if a student complained to officials. Critics of the amendment, however, fear its passage could result in too many lawsuits.
Sen. Franken expressed his disappointment in a statement Tuesday, admitting, “I’m tremendously disappointed in the Senate."
“The inability to put in place meaningful protections for some of our most vulnerable children is an enormous disservice to LGBT students all across the country who face terrible bullying every day," he said.