Gay rights group protests taxpayer funding of anti-gay schools

Equality NC wants lawmakers to forbid funding to schools with discriminatory admission policies

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: November 27, 2013 in News

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A statewide LGBT rights group in North Carolina says schools with anti-gay policies will be eligible for taxpayer subsidies next school year. The group gathered in Wilmington on Tuesday to speak out against such funding, in response to a local school there that has announced it will expel gay students and students with LGBT parents.

As previously reported by qnotes, Myrtle Grove Christian School, which is private, implemented a new “biblical morality” agreement to be signed by students and parents. The agreement forbids students and parents from “participating in, supporting, or affirming sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bisexual activity; promoting such practices; or being unable to support the moral principles of the school.”

Equality North Carolina says the policy is discriminatory, and says taxpayer funds shouldn’t be used to fund such schools. Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, some students will be eligible for vouchers of up to $4,200 in public funding to subsidize private school tuition at schools like Myrtle Grove.

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro said at a press conference Tuesday that ”not one dollar of taxpayer money can ever be used for schools that discriminate for any reason, including race and sexual orientation,” according to the Wilmington Star News.

Sgro’s group wants state lawmakers, which approved the new voucher system, to keep public money from going to schools with discriminatory admission policies.

“We are being asked to fund an educational opportunity [that excludes us],” Sgro said. “We will not stop until taxpayers are no longer asked to fund schools that exclude them and until LGBT students have full access.”

The group is asking supporters to take action and ask legislators to stop the funding.

Anti-LGBT advocates are defending Myrtle Grove and similar schools.

“We are confident that allowing students to use their scholarships to attend schools like Myrtle Grove is both lawful and appropriate,” North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald wrote in a statement to The Star News. “Gay rights radicals have no right to impose their views on sexuality on private school students and their parents.”

Fitzgerald’s group was the primary proponent of the 2012 anti-LGBT constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ relationships.