By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com May 23 2012 11:32 AM ET
Illinois legislators rejected an antibullying bill after conservatives expressed fears that the proposed law was too "pro-homosexual."
The initiative, which would have held school administrators more accountable for handling bullying incidents and preventing harassment, fell one vote short of passing in the state Senate on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"There are some programs that are just against bullying in general," Sen. Kyle McCarter said in the article. "Some of them tend to have an agenda of being pro-homosexual."
The Illinois Family Institute, working off of complaints by some conservatives that the legislation would be too pro-gay, asked for an "opt-out" provision, which would have allowed teachers or students to skip any bullying lessons that may have infringed upon their religious beliefs.
However Sen. Heather Steans said an opt-out provision would make no sense, and that lessons would not be concentrated on only LGBT students. Steans said she is optimistic that the bill could pass in the future, after 12 senators voted "present," the same number that voted "no."