Homo-Lovin' Bunnies

By now I'm sure you've seen some of the nonsense about Buster the Rabbit and his TV show on PBS, in which the cartoon rabbit visits kids around the country and shows the audience how they live. In a new episode, Buster visits kids with two moms. The show is not about that - it is about the kids going out to collect maple syrup from trees in Vermont - but no matter, the depiction (even as a background item) of lesbian moms has the right wing up in arms. (Read the NY Times article from today's paper here.)

Education Secretary Margaret Spelling has gotten in on the grandstanding, complaining that this is not what the federal grant that helped fund the program was for. So let's look at the grant:

The grant specifies the programs "should be designed to appeal to all of America's children by providing them with content and characters with which they can identify." In addition, the grant says, "Diversity will be incorporated into the fabric of the series to help children understand and respect differences and learn to live in a multicultural society."

"All" of America's children. Reuters has reported that somewhere between 1 and 9 million American children have at least one gay parent, and the American Psychiatric Association says that estimates of the number of children with lesbian mothers range from 6 to 14 million.

That's obviously not the majority of children, but it certainly is a healthy slice of the "all" in the grant language, isn't it? The idea that this program violates the grant - silly on its face, since the grant doesn't say "only mixed-gender parents" or "no lesbian parents" - becomes siller when you look at the grant language. Note that it specifies that the show should provide characters with whom children can identify. So, given that there are a ton of kids out there being raised by same-gender parents, wouldn't having one episode with two moms as parents be a step toward fulfilling the requirements of the grant?

Forget gay rights. Forget same sex parents' rights. Take a very narrow view of this: the Department of Education's grants are supposed to be serving all American children, including those raised by same-gender couples. The money for those grants comes from tax dollars, including those paid by same-gender couples. So unless the Department of Education is going to start specifying that they only provide programs to help children who live with two mixed-gender parents, Secretary Spelling needs to learn to shut up until she's gone back and looked at the grants her department is giving out, rather than criticizing grant recipients for doing exactly what her department told them too.

Tell her how you feel. HRC has created a nifty form form for it - very important since DoE has one of those citizen-proof web sites that provides no way to contact the Secretary. You can edit the letter to personalize it; I did so to raise the issue above and ask Secretary Spelling to clarify whether her department exists for all of America's children, or just a selected subset.

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