poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Trustee resigns over gay policy

A member of the Portage school board resigned Monday night after his fellow trustees approved a district anti-harassment policy that contained the term "sexual orientation."

Jerry Whitaker, a board member for five years, said he had made a commitment to himself not to serve on any board that included sexual orientation in its policies. His resignation was effective immediately.

"It's a personal conviction," he said. "I believe in equal rights, not special rights."

In the past, Whitaker, 42, had staunchly opposed adding sexual orientation to the district's nondiscrimination policy, which is separate from the anti-harassment policy. When a student in Portage Central High School's Gay-Straight Alliance approached the board in 2001 to talk about alleged discrimination in the schools, Whitaker said homosexuality, unlike race or gender, is a lifestyle choice that should not be protected by district policy.


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