Sen. Franken Announces White House's Endorsement of Student Non-Discrimination Act
Senators Anti-Gay Bullying Bill has 37 Cosponsors in Senate
Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) proudly announced that the White House has thrown its support behind his Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). Sen. Franken’s bill would help protect public school students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The endorsement was made this afternoon by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President.
Inspired by the story of Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old from Minnesota who committed suicide after facing in-school bullying, Sen. Franken introduced his legislation to combat the national crisis of anti-gay bullying and suicides by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children.
“There’s a lot of talk right now about the need for a law to protect our children from anti-gay bullying and discrimination,” said Sen. Franken. “My Student Non-Discrimination Act would protect LGBT children from bullying in the same way that children are already protected from bullying because of their race, gender, disability, and religion. With today’s endorsement from the White House and 37 cosponsors in the Senate, we’re that much closer to getting a law in place that will protect our children.”
Sen. Franken first introduced SNDA in 2010. The bill would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition against discrimination in K-12 public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It would also forbid schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring harassing behavior. Modeled after Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, SNDA allows the Department of Education and Department of Justice to enforce its protections and also gives children and their families a legal cause of action to defend their rights in court. The bill is supported by a broad coalition of education, civil rights, LGBT, and faith groups.