Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to Define "Gay and Lesbian Youth"

Elementary children (grades K-8) in all Massachusetts public schools now fall under the authority of the new "Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth," according to the Commissioners at last night's meeting. And who will reign in the Commissioners? Up until now, the accepted and assumed target of the Commission was high school students.

Why are definitions important in statutes? If there is a new concept, such as "gays" or "lesbians" (that is, as opposed to homosexual behaviors), and there is supposedly such a thing as "gay and lesbian youth" enshrined in a statute, those new concepts or terms should be clearly defined before the legislature passes a new law. Otherwise, watch out for all sorts of abuses.

And that's just where the new law creating the independent Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth has brought us. Their abuse of children will now officially be extended to the youngest students. Last night at their meeting, the Commission members made it perfectly clear that since "youth" was not defined in the statute creating their commission, they would on their own authority extend the definition of "youth" to cover little children, grades K-8. (So much for interpreting statutes according to definitions commonly accepted at the time it was written.)

Dictionary.com (based on the Random House dictionary), however, gives these pertinent definitions of "youth":
4. the period of life from puberty to the attainment of full growth; adolescence.
7. a young person, esp. a young man or male adolescent.

The American Heritage dictionary gives this definition:
1.c. A young person, especially a young male in late adolescence.