News (USA)

West Virginia may give parents $4600 to send their kid to an anti-LGBTQ religious school

A kid being bullied at school
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The legislature of West Virginia is considering a bill that would funnel state money into the pockets of anti-LGBTQ schools.

Republican lawmakers in the state proposed a bill that would give $4600 in state funds to parents for homeschooling their children or to send them to a private school. The bill contains no protections from LGBTQ discrimination in a state where almost all of its private schools are Christian and many of them openly state that they reject LGBTQ students or attempt to inculcate harmful, anti-LGBTQ attitudes in young people.

Related: Florida’s plan for bullied LGBTQ kids? Send them to Christian schools.

In fact, the bill doesn’t just ignore the topic of discrimination, but actively permits it, saying that schools that receive state funds are “not required to alter its creed, practices, admission policy, hiring policy or curriculum in order to accept eligible [voucher] recipients.”

“This sort of voucher system… filters public money into institutions that can engage in all sorts of types of discrimination,” said the ACLU of West Virginia’s policy director, Eli Baumwell.

There are only 17 private schools in the state with over 200 students, according to an analysis by the West Virginia Gazette. Of those, 16 are Christian – only one school is nonreligious.

“Make no mistake, the left and the secular culture are manipulating the minds of your sons and daughters every day of the year,” the website for Huntington’s Grace Christian School says. “In some schools, children are also taught homosexual propaganda.”

Cross Lanes Christian School says that it can reject students if they or their parents are caught “practicing or promoting a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.”

The Faith Christian Academy in Martinsburg requires parents to agree to their Statement of Faith which says that “sexual immorality” – defined as “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, and attempting to change one’s biological sex” – is “sinful and offensive to God.”

Republicans are defending the bill, saying it allows for parents to have more of a choice in where their kids go to school. But opponents say that without discrimination protections, parents who don’t hate their LGBTQ children and who are unable to homeschool are not really being given a choice.

Republicans hold 76 out of 100 seats in the state’s House of Delegates and 23 of 34 seats in the state’s Senate. The state’s governor is also a Republican.

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