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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Florida school board unanimously rejects homosexual, transgender concessions

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida, February 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Brevard County School Board unanimously rejected a proposed pro-homosexual and pro-transgender addition to their non-discrimination policy Tuesday night.

Nearly 100 people signed up to speak about the proposed ordinance change, with over 90 of them against adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the school's nondiscrimination ordinance.

Speeches ranged from expressing concerns that a pro-transgender, pro-homosexual policy would threaten privacy and confuse children to calls for God back in public schools. 

Terry Rocks of The Brevard Youth Network said, "There is a spiritual force here, and it is evil."

Opponents also said the proposed LGBTQ addition would brand Christians as bigots and subject them to discipline for "discrimination."

Melbourne parent Jason Schack threatened that he and others would leave the public schools if they adopt a pro-transgender, pro-homosexual policy. "I just hope your school board is prepared for the mass exodus," Schack warned.

The large crowd became emotional at several points, both booing those who spoke in favor of transgender bathrooms and cheering those who spoke against "special" homosexual "rights." 

Robert Taylor of Malabar said, "Do we want delusional people of the opposite sex in our restrooms? No!"

Father Demetri Tsigas of St. Katherine Orthodox Church in Melbourne summarized, "You can see the spirit of the town here. This is not San Francisco, folks. This is Brevard County."

A letter from the religious freedom attorney organization Liberty Counsel was also sent to the school board, which read, "The District should maintain the common-sense position that objective biological sex – male and female – is (and should remain) the determining factor for access to gender-appropriate public school facilities and programs, not subjective mental 'identity' or beliefs that one is the opposite sex, or subjective sexual attractions."

The legal group's letter continued, "'Sexual orientation' or 'gender identity'...are not like others protected by law.  They are subjective, behavior-based categories, rather than federally-recognized immutable characteristics like race, color, sex, national origin, or constitutionally-protected fundamental rights, like religion."

"There is no legal authority mandating addition of these improper categories to (school) policies," the Liberty Counsel letter stated.

The letter also notes that the "legal bullying" of the Obama administration's Office of Civil Rights' "baseless" statements "strong-arm[ing] school districts" for transgender bathrooms "cites no legal authority – case law or statutory – for the claim that Title IX now applies to students claiming to be the opposite sex." 

Liberty Counsel then cited cases in which courts rejected the idea that Title IX or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 now applies to transgender "discrimination."

"A student with gender confusion who truly believes he or she is the opposite sex should be treated with care, compassion, and kindness, but must not be officially affirmed in his or her confusion, no matter how sincerely-held," the lawyers' letter stated.

Liberty Counsel's letter concluded with a warning: "If the District enacts these misguided changes, and instead violates the First Amendment rights of other students and teachers, Liberty Counsel stands prepared to advocate on their behalf against the District."

After reading the letter and hearing everyone out, the school board voted unanimously not to adopt the policy additions.

In an interview with Florida Today, Roger Gannam, senior litigator for Liberty Counsel, said, "These are bad policies that chill free speech and threaten religious liberties."

The school board said it will instruct the public on homosexual and transgender "issues" by sponsoring a public "workshop" on LGBTQ rights in the near future.

"Many parents ... stood up in opposition to this dangerous policy change. We win when we show up," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a press release. 

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