Minn. holds vigil while lawmakers press for anti-bullying law

Minnesota’s largest gay-rights group held an evening vigil on Oct. 14 in support of young people bullied based on their sexual orientation.

OutFront Minnesota’s vigil was held at Loring Park near downtown Minneapolis in response to recent reports of suicides by students in the Anoka-Hennepin school district. The family of some students and advocates said the suicides were prompted by anti-gay bullying.

OutFront Minnesota is calling for Minnesota lawmakers to take up a bill that would craft a uniform anti-bullying policy for all schools in the state. Lawmakers are due to meet soon for a special session to pass a disaster relief bill, and two Minneapolis Democrats said they’ll push for the anti-bullying bill.

State Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Jim Davnie said the recent high-profile cases of bullying that resulted in suicide make the issue an emergency – much like the need to respond to recent victims of floods and a tornado, Dibble said.

“Minnesota has a crisis, but we also have the ability to address that crisis by laying a strong policy foundation and saying degradation of any form, for any reason, will not be tolerated in our schools,” Dibble said in news release.

The bill would compel all Minnesota schools to implement policies that prohibit harassment based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation or a number of other factors.

Minnesota Republicans oppose the legislation.

From WiG and wire reports.