House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) criticized presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) yesterday for her silence on the Anoka-Hennepin’s neutrality policy, which prohibits school officials from referring to homosexuality and may enable anti-gay bullying. A former Anoka-Hennepin student and self-touted education advocate, Bachmann represents the district and its 38,000 students.
Andrew Harmon from the Advocate reports:
Pelosi told The Advocate of Bachmann’s silence on the issue, “I would think that if she wanted to be the President of the United States, she would understand that this is a larger issue than whether someone is gay or not, but as to whether someone is harassed and bullied to the point of seeing no way out.”
“Obviously it’s an issue bigger than Michele Bachmann’s district, so maybe we should all be speaking out about it, and not just leaving it to her,” Pelosi added.
Following a two-year stint of nine suicides attributed to bullying, the Departments of Justice and Education are investigating the school district for its failure to address anti-gay harassment. Two human-rights groups have also filed a federal lawsuit challenging the neutrality policy, arguing that it stigmatizes gay students.
But as the district’s representative, Bachmann has not made any public comments regarding the anti-gay bullying charges or the neutrality policy. Instead, she has let her record speak for itself. In 2004, Bachmann decried teaching about homosexuality in schools as leading to “the personal enslavement of individuals” and in 2006, opposed anti-bullying legislation because “there always have been bullies…always will be.”
Pelosi also disparaged Bachmann over reports that her family clinic practices “ex-gay” therapy, saying, “You know, 20 years ago somebody might ask, Does it work? I think today, people are asking, Why would you want to have somebody be who they aren’t?”