Minnesota Family Council backs school board candidates who support restrictions on LGBT education

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011 at 9:57 am | More from The Minnesota Independent

In an email to supporters on Monday evening, the Minnesota Family Council (MFC) urged voters to consider incumbent Anoka-Hennepin School Board members Marci Anderson and Tom Heidemann because they support a district policy that limits discussion of LGBT issues in district schools.

The policy, often dubbed the neutrality policy, is at the center of a nationwide discussion about suicide and anti-LGBT bullying and the subject of a lawsuit by six district students and their families.

The family council wrote that this is a “critical election” for the board.

“As you may know, the district has been targeted by national liberal organizations for its neutrality policy on sexual orientation. The neutrality policy states that school officials and teachers will remain neutral on issues involving sexual orientation. The school district believes these issues are better addressed by parents and families than by school officials. For taking this reasonable position, the school district is being sued by national liberal organizations.”

The MFC asked supporters to “vote their values” by supporting Tom Heidemann in District 1 and Marci Anderson in District 2.

At the bottom of the email was a short disclosure: “Prepared and paid for by Minnesota Family Council, in support of Tom Heidemann and Marci Anderson. This is issue advocacy and is not approved by the candidate nor is the candidate responsible for it.”

Tuesday’s election has been higher profile than in recent years due to the controversy over the neutrality policy. Three of the board’s six seats are up for election on Tuesday, and two of the seats–those of Heidemann and Anderson–are being contested.

Anderson’s opponents, Mary Nelson and Randy Kolb, oppose the neutrality policy. Heidemann’s opponent, Darin Rorman, hasn’t stated where he stands on the issue. Current school board member Scott Wenzal opposes the policy, but is running unopposed.

The Minnesota Family Council has been at the heart of the controversy surrounding LGBT issues in the district. In the past, its employees have played a part in forcing a transgender music teacher to quit, backed a policy that said “homosexuality not be taught/addressed as a normal, valid lifestyle and that the district staff and their resources not advocate the homosexual lifestyle” and worked to ban posters with suicide help-lines targeting LGBT students.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District drew national attention after a number of students, some of whom were gay, committed suicide.

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