N.C. Senate sends bullying bill to House

May 7, 2009 

The state Senate gave final approval Wednesday to an anti-bullying bill that lists gay students as potential targets for harassment.

Senators passed the legislation without the debate of Tuesday's preliminary vote but by a similar margin, 26-22.

The bill requires school districts to establish anti-bullying policies and requires teachers and school employees who witness bullying to report it.

More than a dozen possible reasons for the harassment are listed, such as race or religion. The bill included sexual orientation in that list, which drew sharp criticism from conservative lawmakers Tuesday.

Groups such as Christian Action League warned that the bill establishes new rights for homosexuals, and two Catholic bishops warned that such a precedent could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The bill now moves to the House, where advocates say they have enough votes to pass it.

Staff writer Mark Johnson

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