Parents’ Rights Bill Called ‘Homophobic’ by Editorial in Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Homophobic Beat of [FPN]?

An editorial in the January 22nd Richmond Times-Dispatch accuses legislators in the Virginia General Assembly of “marching to the homophobic beat of the Religious Right.”

Their offense?

Supporting a Family Policy Network proposal that would allow parents to remove their children from non-academic, school-based clubs with which they disagree.

The editorial cited testimony by two high school students who spoke before a House committee last week, just before a similar proposal was defeated in a 10-10 tie. Claire Bohannon criticized efforts to require parental involvement, telling lawmakers her participation in the so-called “gay-straight alliance” at a Richmond-area private school would not have occurred if she had been required to obtain her parents’ permission first. Another student told lawmakers denying student involvement without parents’ permission would be “discriminatory” and “really stupid.”

How compelling!

Notwithstanding the arguments of pro-homosexual student critics, the original proposal may have had some unintended consquences. That’s because it would have PREVENTED participation in any non-academic club UNLESS and UNTIL a parent signed a PERMISSION SLIP granting the child permission to do so. This approach, while well-intentioned, would have created an undue burden on wholesome school-based clubs like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Hi-Y, and YoungLife to name a few.

If passed, the newer language which was proposed by Delegate Matt Lohr (R-Harrisonburg) and amended with the help of Delegate Mark Cole (R-Spotsylvania), would require parents to be NOTIFIED of the existence of all non-academic clubs, and given an opportunity to opt their children out of any clubs they find objectionable. Parents would retain their authority to prevent their children from participating in objectionable activities, without creating an undue burden on good clubs trying to involve new students.

Family Policy Network of Virginia supports the rights of parents in determining what activities their children participate in, regardless of whether their children are at home or school. FPN of VA Director Marnie Deaton responded to critics of her group’s Parental Option proposal by saying, “I’m sure they’ll change their minds about parents’ rights if they ever have children of their own.” She added, “Until then, anything we can do to encourage parental involvement in their children’s education is a positive thing.”


Contact your Delegate and Senator to express your opinion about parents’ rights with regard to non-academic, school-based clubs.

– Call 434-326-4413 (extension 5) from Charlottesville
– Call 434-846-0500 (extension 5) from Lynchburg
– Call 757-353-4006 (extension 5) from Norfolk
– Call 202-656-5084 (extension 5) from Northern VA (some parts)
– Call 804-419-4483 (extension 5) from Richmond
– Call 540-904-1063 (extension 5) from Roanoke
– Call 757-353-4006 (extension 5) from Virginia Beach
– Call 202-656-5084 (extension 5) from Washington, D.C.

If you do not live in one of these areas, you can express your opinion toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 from anywhere else in Virginia.