NEA 'Will Not Back Away' From Homosexuality Issue

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

Los Angeles ( - The head of the nation's biggest teachers union Thursday denied the union had backed away from a proposal to seek a greater emphasis on teaching about homosexuality in public schools.

In a formal address to the delegates of the National Education Association's annual meeting, NEA President Robert Chase voiced his strong disagreement with accusations that the group has backed down from the controversial issues addressed in Resolution New B.

The resolution was sent to task force committee for further study Thursday, after being tabled earlier in the week.

The resolution's aim is to deal with issues of homosexuality education, such as "need based curriculum," support programs, and accurate portrayals in the classroom of homosexuals.

Also included in the resolution are programs designed to "include the contributions, heritage, culture, and history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."

"I want to make it very, very clear to those who have been making statements to the press," Chase said firmly from the podium. "We will not back away from dealing with this important and significant issue. Final point. That's it."

Chase's remarks were met with thunderous applause from the convention floor.

"It's been a really emotional topic," stated Cathy Figel, co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus, upon leaving an early morning meeting today. "But people are feeling good."

The GLC voted by a 3 to 1 margin to support the sending of the resolution to a task force that will seek to examine its strengths and weaknesses.

The convention was the site of protesters earlier in the week. However, none were visible as the assembly began its second day of official business.