Gay + Lesbian Youth – Making History

NBC News Close Up
December 10, 1993

TOM BROCAW: In a landmark piece of gay rights legislation today signed in Boston – its aim —  protecting homosexual students in public schools. More now from NBC’s Fred Briggs

CHRIS HANNON: I was pushed, kicked, thrown against lockers, and worst of all, spit on…

FRED BRIGGS: A gay high school student — one of hundreds who lobbied state legislators to pass a bill prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in Massachusetts public schools. Governor William Weld signed the bill into law today.

FRED BRIGGS: Governor William Weld signed the bill into law today

GOV WELD: They’re protected under Massachusetts law in terms of non-discrimination.

FRED BRIGGS: Massachusetts already has a law protecting gays from discrimination, but its been interpreted to apply to adults mainly — certainly not children, certainly not in school… …The bill has teeth and it says if any gay student is discriminated against…

REP BYRON RUSHING: that student now knows that he can go to the administration and he can expect the administration of that school to be on his side and follow the law.

FRED BRIGGS: And the student can sue the school if it isn’t. Although 51 percent of the state is Roman Catholic, the church has been silent on the law, but not Catholic lay mens’ groups.

C.J. DOYLE: This is an effort to use the schools to proselytize, legitimize, and validate homosexual behavior.

FRED BRIGGS: Backers of the bill said it’s just a way to have students and teachers respect gay students and their lifestyles, and now it’s the law.