On Wednesday, Feb. 24, South Carolina’s Teen Dating Violence Bill (H3543), was briefly discussed before the Senate Education Committee and ultimately sent back to a subcommittee after further attempts to remove anti-gay language from the text.

The bill would require the state education department to create policies for reporting and responding to dating violence. It would also require schools to provide information about teen dating violence to students and parents. But, in 2009, state Rep. Greg Delleney (R-Chester) amended the bill to exclude LGBT students in same-sex relationships.

The bill originally defined “dating partner” as “a person, regardless of gender, involved in an intimate relationship with another, primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement whether casual, serious, or long term.” Delleney’s amendment redefined the term as “a person involved in a heterosexual dating relationship with another.”

Delleney has said he felt the amendment was necessary because he did not want heterosexual children to be taught about gay relationships. The bill sponsor, Rep. Joan Brady (R-Richland) approved the amendment and has said violence occurs more frequently in heterosexual relationships.
A coalition of LGBT groups in South Carolina have been criticizing the bill’s anti-LGBT language and have been encouraging their members to speak out against the bill. SC Pride SC Black Pride, and SC Equality are asking constituents to contact their state senators and express their opposition to the bill as it is currently worded.

They’ve provided a list of the members of the Senate Education Committee:

John Courson, 803-212-6250
Nikki Setzler, 803-212-6140
John Matthews, 803-212-6056
Robert Hayes, 803- 212-6410
Michael Fair, 803-212- 6420
Harvey Peeler, 803- 212-6430
Luke Rankin, 803-212- 6132
*Phil Leventis, 803- 212- 6000
Darrell Jackson, 803-212-6048
Ralph Anderson, 803-212-6032
Greg Wyberg, 803-212-6320
Larry Grooms, 803-212-6400
Larry Martin, 803-212- 6340
Gerald Malloy, 803-212-6148
Joel Lourie, , 803-212-6116
Shane Massey, 803-212-6000
Tom Davis, 803-212-6008

Deaidre Newby

Deaidre Newby is a former editorial intern for QNotes.