"reformer of the year" Rep. John Ragan. Via Facebook.
Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP) Chair Eric C. Bauman released the following statement regarding StudentsFirst’s decision to honor anti-gay extremist Republican John Ragan:Bravo.
“StudentsFirst, which seems hell-bent on destroying teachers union and privatizing our public schools, claims the mantle of a liberal organization, especially here in California where they’ve dumped millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of anti-teacher candidates recently.
“To get a real sense of where their politics lie, look no further than their decision to honor extremist, anti-gay Republican Tennessee legislator John Ragan as their ‘Reformer of the Year’.”
Ragan was a chief sponsor of his state’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, legally requiring that any school official approached by any student with questions or comments about “inconsistent with natural human reproduction” — i.e., homosexuality — to contact that child’s parents.
He also supported legislation that would require teachers to tell gay students they need a psychiatrist, and once responded to a constituent saying that a gay person is not a “mentally healthy adult human being.
“Honoring such a person flies in the face of their manufactured image here in California as a progressive group. I hope that the next time StudentsFirst supports a candidate here for school board or city council, voters remember they are one of John Ragan’s biggest campaign donors. I assure you the LA County Democratic Party won’t let anyone forget that.”
Update: statement from Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, via Gay Star News:
'As the House sponsor of the "Don't Say Gay" bill and as a past defender of the License to Bully bill, Rep. Ragan has a very well known record on educational issues in Tennessee,' Sanders wrote. 'These bills would have led to the outing of students and exposed them to further bullying. StudentsFirst could take steps to redeem their misplaced award by working to pass the Dignity for All Students Act--a real anti-bullying bill with enumerated protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and disability.'