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Students Face Resistance to Starting Gay-Straight Alliance in Georgia

Mason Rice wants to start a GSA.
WSB-TV

Homophobes started a petition to block a gay-straight alliance in Fannin County, Ga.

Homophobes in one Southern community want to keep a gay-straight alliance from providing a safe haven for queer teens.

Students at Fannin County High School in Georgia say the school needs a GSA precisely because of a lack of support in the community for LGBTQ youth.

"It's very important. This town doesn't support gay people," club founder Mason Rice told WSB TV of Atlanta. "If we have a support group for them to go to, it would be better for them."

A petition Rice launched on Change.org has garnered more than 2,300 signatures of support already.

The effort notably comes just as a community in neighboring Tennessee mourns the death of an LGBTQ teen. Channing Smith died by suicide after a friend shared texts on social media that publicly outed him as bisexual.

Still, parents in Fannin County have objected to the creation of any club that exbraces gender and sexual minorities.

"This is no hate," parent Stephanie Ensley claimed. "Whether you're gay, straight or bi, we shouldn't have sexual orientation clubs at our school."

A petition launched by student Emily Deal on Petition.org made more clear an exclusionary motive for blocking the club.

"Don't Let Homosexuality Be Pushed on Students in Fannin County," reads the petition title.

"Some students have even gone as far as saying they would drop out of school if this does go through," Deal wrote. "By signing this you simply state that you do not agree with this club and stand for what you believe in. They won't let us bring religion into the schools so why is it okay to bring this into schools?"

That petition as of Wednesday morning had more than 1,200 signatures.

A principal has already said the club can't get started mid-school year because of official guidelines governing student groups. But Rice intends to get the club going at the start of the next school year.

"There shouldn't be any bullying," Rice said. "People should just come together and love people for who they are."

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