WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Human Rights Campaign denounces the intolerance that Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings demonstrated by pulling funding from a cartoon show promoting understanding. "The Secretary's first act in office denies children an education about the diversity of American families," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "Teaching children about respect for differences promotes tolerance of their fellow human beings. Those are the values our children should be learning. Instead, Secretary Spellings is sending the message that differences should concealed. This creates a dangerous environment for children's growth. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth are disproportionately at risk for suicide. Creating a climate in which children are taught that differences should be feared does nothing to promote understanding for peers." According to an Associated Press article, PBS has decided to pull the episode of "Postcards from Buster" from distribution. The episode, "Sugartime!," features the animated bunny Buster on a trip in Vermont and focuses on farm living and maple sugaring. One scene depicts two lesbian couples. The program receives funding through federal Ready-to-Learn programs. In a letter to PBS, Secretary Spellings wrote, "Congress' and the Department's purpose in funding this programming certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children, particularly through the powerful and intimate medium of television." The secretary asked for a refund "in the interest of avoiding embroiling the Ready-to-Learn program in a controversy that will only hurt" it. A Department spokesperson said that PBS has been awarded almost $100 million over the past five years in a contract that expires in September. "The 'subject matter' is innocuous, but the Secretary's implication that teaching children about the reality of American life is cause for fear is harmful," added Stachelberg. "Same-sex couples are raising children in almost every county in the nation. These families deserve just as much dignity and respect as their neighbors, and the children of America shouldn't be denied the reality of our lives." The nation's leading child welfare, psychological and children's health organizations have issued policy or position statements declaring that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child. These organizations include the: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, Child Welfare League of America and North American Council on Adoptable Children. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
SOURCE Human Rights Campaign