Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Slaps Schools, Gays Homosexuality Approval Would Risk U.S. Funds

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Slaps Schools, Gays Homosexuality Approval Would Risk U.S. Funds

Article excerpt

The Senate voted Monday night to cut off federal money to public schools that teach acceptance of homosexuality as a way of life. Senators also voted for an experimental program to allow single-sex classes in public schools.

The votes came as the Senate debated reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary School Act, which provides $12.5 billion to public schools.

The anti-gay measure - proposed by Sens. Robert Smith, R-N.H., and Jesse Helms, R-N.C. - was approved 63-36.

The amendment would cut federal money to any school that encouraged or supported homosexuality "as a positive lifestyle alternative," that distributed materials that did so, or that referred a student "to an organization that affirms a homosexual lifestyle."

Most public schools receive about 15 percent of their financing from the federal government.

The House passed its version of the overall bill earlier this year, including a provision similar to the Helms-Smith amendment but less severe.

An aide said Smith was prompted by concern over material that students were bringing home from school, that he found graphic and disgusting. He took the material to the Senate floor to display, telling senators they could take a closer look at his desk. Included were a book about a lesbian couple titled "Heather Has Two Mommies."

He also brought other material, used in AIDS education programs, that graphically describes sexual acts and advocates the use of condoms.

Helms described the publications as "disgusting, obscene material that's laid out before schoolchildren in this country every day."

Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., said the provision would forbid counseling of gay students, who he said were up to three times as likely to commit suicide as other teen-agers.

In the roll call, Sens. …

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