Days after Illinois Gov. J.B. Priztker signed a pair of laws that make sex education more inclusive of LGBTQ relationships, his potential Republican rivals for the state's top office continue to attack the measures as "extreme."
One law adds the risks of sexting, among other contemporary personal safety issues, to current K-5 curriculum. The other adds LGBTQ issues in sex-ed already taught in grades 6-12.
State Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) sponsored the bill because "no student should feel stigmatized or excluded in the classroom."
Parents have a right to opt out of the curriculum as they always had, according to the Gov. Pritzker's office.
But state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), running in the Republican gubernatorial primary, said on the Senate floor that Democrats are "pushing perversion in our schools" and that teachers would be forced to teach "absolute nonsense."
State Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago), who represents much of the Andersonville neighborhood, said that Bailey's comments are "deeply offensive." He went as far as asking that the comments be stricken from the records.
"I took it as a dog whistle intended to dehumanize a whole spectrum of diverse families," Simmons told Chicago Sun-Times. "That includes LGBTQ people."
"The bill is obscene," Bailey said later. "It was created by activist organizations that don't care about active parental consent or strong families."
After years of fighting progressive reforms in public schools as a school board member and later president in Louisville, Ill., Bailey founded Full Armor Christian Academy. It is a pre-K-12 private school "that gives parents the option of a Christ-centered education for their children."
Full Armor teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and that homosexuality is a sin.
Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo), also running for governor, said Gov. Pritzker is not willing to "listen to the common sense views of parents who want schools to focus on teaching academics rather than social engineering."
"Parents, not the government, should make decisions about their children's education, healthcare, and maturations into adulthood," the former top military attorney said.