By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com April 20 2012 3:41 PM ET
A Republican running for a U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico said that legislation that could protect LGBT students against bullying would criminalize children for teasing each other for having red hair or being too short.
Rep. Heather Wilson said at a candidate debate last week that the Student Non-Discrimination Act introduced by Sen. Al Franken would violate the First Amendment if enacted. SDNA would protect students against antigay bullying, just as all students are protected from bullying under the basis of race or gender. Wilson even mocked her own deep voice, sarcastically saying that she has "never" been made fun of for it.
"...[A]s parents we have to deal with [bullying] and strengthen our children to be comfortable with themselves and also to show empathy and acceptance towards others, but that particular act is so broad it would actually punish children and say that it’s prohibited to express an opinion with respect to homosexuality in the schools," she said. "I just think that’s wrong and it’s a violation of the First Amendment."
Wilson, who currently represents a Congressional District in New Mexico, scores a 5 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Congressional Scorecard. The organization is asking supporters to take action by expressing disappointment in her words through a petition on their website.