School Bullying Policies Stir Gay Rights Debate

A surge of teen suicides has drawn national attention to the issue of school bullying.

Many of the young people who have taken their own lives were bullied by their peers for their perceived sexual identities. Quickly, the issue of addressing school bullying becomes intertwined with the nation's ongoing gay rights debate.

Campaigns such as the "It Gets Better Project" have sought to raise awareness about gay bullying and bring a message of hope to struggling teens. Celebrities, activists and politicians -- including President Obama -- have joined the anti-bullying campaign.

Many schools across the nation have responded to the recent surge of youth suicides by adding tolerance lessons to school curriculum. The policies have drawn criticism from parents eager to preserve religious views that regard homosexuality as a sin.

Angry parents and religious critics, while agreeing that schoolyard harassment should be stopped, charge that liberals and gay rights groups are using the antibullying banner to pursue a hidden "homosexual agenda," implicitly endorsing, for example, same-sex marriage.