On Monday, November 18, notorious anti-gay crusader Barbara Anderson of the Parents Action League will be the keynote speaker for the SW Metro Tea Party's Workshop on HF 826 Exposed! How Bullying Bill Will Harm Children and Threaten Freedom.
Anderson's appearance is part of the presentation from the MN Child Protection League.
Anderson gained her national notoriety as leader of the Parents Action League:
a citizens organization started in 2010 to oppose changes in the Anoka-Hennepin (Minnesota) School District 11 policy which limited discussions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues in district classrooms. PAL's roots go back as far as 1994, when one of its most-vocal members, Barb Anderson, successfully influenced the school district's board to exclude homosexuality from its sex-ed curriculum.
The school district abandoned the 2010 policy following several student suicides, lawsuits and investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated Parents Action League as an anti-gay hate group for "damaging propaganda about the gay community".
Last February, Rolling Stone reported in Minnesota School District Ends Policy Blamed for Anti-Gay Bullying:
After nine suicides, a federal lawsuit, and the glare of the media spotlight, Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin school district has at last rid itself of the policy that helped create a virulently anti-gay environment in its schools. In a 5-1 vote on Monday night, the district's school board repealed its Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy, which required teachers to be "neutral" on homosexuality. Teachers throughout the district had been so confused about how to enforce the policy that they’d avoided any mention of homosexuality, even when it meant ignoring anti-gay bullying; the result was a toxic environment in which LGBT students were marginalized, demoralized, and subjected to unchecked torment.
And yet at Monday's vote, the policy still didn’t go quietly. While 13 parents spoke up during the tense meeting in support of the policy’s removal, a dozen others – some from the anti-gay Parent Action League – argued the policy was critical to protect students from "homosexual propaganda." PAL’s Barb Anderson darkly warned the board that its vote for gay tolerance "will have a ripple effect for years to come." Her argument evidently resonated with board member Kathy Tingelstad, who cast the lone vote to preserve the policy, and blamed outside forces for pushing the district to back off.
Anderson's presentation should be quite the set of funhouse mirrors--and undercuts the attempts of those who are attempting to frame the Tea Party as a movement not much interested in social issues. As a researcher for the Minnesota Family Council, that's pretty much all Anderson is interested in.
In 2010, she sat down for a radio interview with Peter LaBarbera of Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) and said:
“I think the greatest threat to our freedom and to the health and well-being of our children is from this radical homosexual agenda which is just so pervasive.”
Parents Action League was first listed as a hate group by the SPLC in 2012. The SW Metro Tea Party is led by Minnesota state representative Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen), one of the organization's founders.
Photo: Barbara Anderson, from the flyer for Monday's workshop.
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