Two major reports came out today that have the potential to significantly influence policy debates in their respective, related areas.
A trio of organizations published All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families, which spells out in more than 100 pages (with more than 450 footnotes) the ways in which anti-gay policies impede three key needs of every child: stable, loving homes; economic security; and health and well-being. In each area, the report documents the problems, demonstrates the effects of discriminatory laws and policies, and provides recommendations. The Child Welfare League of America wrote the foreword and endorsed the report, which was co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council and the Center for American Progress.
The second publication is from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Peer to Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response. As a threshold matter, its very issuance signals that the Commission is alive again, after having been starved and sidelined by years of Republican administrations. This report, also lengthy and well-documented, includes specific findings and recommendations:
The Commission, by majority vote, concluded that bullying and harassment, including bullying and harassment based on sex, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or religion, are harmful to American youth, and developed findings and recommendations to address the problem, including the following recommendations:
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice should track their complaints/inquiries regarding sexual harassment or gender-based harassment by creating a category that explicitly encompasses LGBT youth.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice should track complaints that they receive regarding harassment based solely on sexual orientation that are closed for lack of jurisdiction.
The U.S. Department of Education should track complaints that it receives regarding harassment based solely on religion that are closed for lack of jurisdiction.
The U.S. Department of Education should consider issuing a new Dear Colleague Letter regarding the First Amendment implications of anti-bullying policies. The new Letter should provide concrete examples to clarify the guidance that the Department of Education previously provided [on] July 28, 2003.
Two really impressive contributions.