(Washington. D.C., May 20, 2010) — Today, the National Center of Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds Senator Franken for introducing the Student Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate. The Student Non-Discrimination Act is federal legislation designed to ensure that all students have access to public education in a safe environment free from discrimination, including harassment, bullying, intimidation and violence. The proposed legislation would provide nationwide comprehensive prohibition of discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure would provide victims of such discrimination with meaningful and effective remedies, modeled after Title IX.

“We applaud Senator Franken for introducing the Student Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate and his advocacy for LGBTQ youth and their allies,” said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “The passage of this crucial bill would reaffirm our country’s commitment to our youth and help to ensure the promise of a healthy and safe learning environment for all.”

“LGBTQ youth have the right to a quality education and are denied this right when schools discriminate and become hostile environments,” said NCLR Youth Project Director Jody Marksamer. “This legislation would ban discrimination against LGBTQ youth and thus would ensure the safety of public schools for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

On January 27, 2010 Representative Jared Polis introduced the House version of the bill, H.R. 4530. The bill currently has 106 co-sponsors.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights helped draft this key legislation and is among the number of national organizations that support its passage. NCLR’s support for federal legislation to end discrimination against LGBTQ youth in our nation’s schools is a part of the work of its Youth project, which seeks to advance the rights of LGBTQ youth through education, public policy, and precedent-setting casework. By bringing the issues faced by LGBTQ youth front and center, NCLR changes the legal landscape for all youth, and ensures health and safety for the next generation of all young people.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.