Joining several LGBT and women’s rights organizations, the nation’s two major teachers unions are now coming out and criticizing Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) recent comments that openly gay individuals and unmarried pregnant women should be barred from teaching in public schools.
“We thought these battles had already been fought and won decades ago,” said National Education Association (NEA) Government Relations Director Kim Anderson. “This is one of the reasons why the NEA has fought for civil and human rights ever since its conception 157 years ago, and we want qualified people in the classroom, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re married or what their sexual orientation is.”
When asked whether DeMint should apologize publicly for his remarks, Anderson replied, “I hope that voters will make their minds up clearly and send a message to him about what his policy statements should reflect.”
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is run by Randi Weingarten, who is out as an openly gay woman. “On a personal level, as a gay woman, I am very disappointed that a senator would place more emphasis on who we are as human beings than on what we do as professionals,” said Weingarten in a statement to The Huffington Post. “That is not the UNITED States of America that was on display at last Saturday’s One Nation rally in Washington, D.C. That event better reflected the country that I know and am proud of.”