Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, November 21, 1997 Page: 14 of 80
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Gay man sues former school district
over harassment suffered as student
Associated Press dents, according to the lawsuit.
NEWARK, N.J. — A gay hairdresser
in Sussex County claims in a federal
lawsuit that his high school years were
made harder because educators failed
to apply their anti-harassment policies
when he complained about abuse from
Robert McDonald, who works in
Newton, is seeking unspecified com-
pensation from the Jefferson Township
Board of Education, as well as several
administrators and a teacher at
Jefferson High School in Morris County.
The lawsuit, filed here last month,
appears to be the first in New Jersey,
and among only a handful in the
nation, to address anti-gay harassment
in public schools, according to a gay
rights litigating group, the Lambda
Legal Defense and Education Fund.
McDonald, 21, graduated from the
school 1-1/2 years ago after enduring
indignities that included name-calling
and spitting, as well as shoving inci-
He said that in response to his
clothes being stolen or scattered during
gym class, school officials asked him to
change in a separate bathroom. McDon-
ald was also asked to leave classes five
minutes early to avoid students who
bothered him, the lawsuit said.
Among those named in the suit is
Principal Robert Ross. "I've been here
for 20 years as a principal, and we've
always treated everybody equally,''
Ross told The Star-Ledger of Newark for
Wednesday's editions. "We don't have
two sets of rules."
A beating in his junior year robbed
McDonald's left ear of 80 percent of its
hearing, the lawsuit said. McDonald
filed assault charges against student
Scott Sisco and is also suing him in state
court, charging that the attack was
motivated by bias.
A lawyer for the Sisco family said
any fight had nothing to do with
McDonald's sexual orientation. ▼
Arizona governor seeks clarification of
policy permitting gays as foster parents
By Kate Hunger
PHOENIX — Talyne Corlyn is a
married woman. She has an adult
daughter, and she fondly remembers
serving as a foster mother in Alaska
several years ago.
Corlyn is also bisexual. So when she
heard that some Arizona lawmakers
want to stop all unmarried couples —
heterosexual or homosexual — from
acting as foster parents, she got mad.
"That's the most stupid thing I ever
heard of," Corlyn said. "We have babies
turning up in Dumpsters."
In Arizona, gay and lesbian couples
are allowed to be foster parents.
Unmarried heterosexual couples are
Some state lawmakers have a prob-
lem with current policy that — while
upholding state laws against cohabita-
tion — leaves the door open for gay
couples to qualify as foster parents.
In a radio appearance Wednesday,
Gov. Jane Hull said the Legislature
needs to clarify the policy. Although
she did not say gays and lesbians
should be precluded from providing
foster care, she described the best envi-
ronment as one with a husband, wife
and other children.
The controversy boils down to a
legal technicality: foster parents can't
be lawbreakers, and according to state
law unmarried couples who live
together are just that.
Corlyn, co-chair of Bi-Net AZ, an
Phoenix advocacy and support group
for bisexuals, said she agrees with Hull
that the policy should be clear. But from
Corlyn's perspective, the only fair poli-
cy would be one that opens foster par-
enting up to all responsible people,
regardless of sexual orientation.
"The implication is that they are
more concerned with the morality than
with the health and welfare of the chil-
dren," Corlyn said.
Furthermore, an administrative
hearing officer ruled a few years ago in
a case involving the Department of
Economic Security, which oversees fos-
ter placements, that the law only
applies when a man and woman live
together, said Christine Powell, an
assistant state attorney general.
"There clearly are homes licensed as
foster care providers where the
providers are homosexual," Powell
Rep. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, said
she wants Child Protective Services, an
arm of DES, to issue a specific policy
banning cohabitating couples — homo-
sexual or heterosexual — from becom-
ing foster parents. If not, she said she
will sponsor legislation to do it.
Johnson said children need a tradi-
tional family atmosphere in an unstable
"Give them the sort of role models
that build society up instead of deci-
mating it," Johnson said.
Francie Noyes, the governor's
spokeswoman, said Mrs. Hull was
responding to Johnson's concerns when
she commented on the policy and that
NOVEMBER 21, 1997 DALLAS VOICE
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 30, Ed. 1 Friday, November 21, 1997, newspaper, November 21, 1997; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616180/m1/14/?q=RIO%20VISTA: accessed October 14, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.