Elementary school book fair features workers in gay-straight alliance shirts

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Listen up, parents of America: no matter what you might believe personally, your kids are never too young to start learning about the wonders of gay marriage.

A member of Missouri’s House of Representatives learned this lesson the hard way recently when he tweeted a photo of a shirt worn by high school students working at an elementary school book fair, reports the News-Leader.

Rep. Kevin Elmer spotted the shirts on Thursday afternoon when he was at a book fair at his third-grade child’s elementary school in Nixa, a town of about 20,000 just south of Springfield. He had stopped by the book fair after a parent-teacher conference.

The Republican registered his dissatisfaction by tweeting an image of one of the workers at the book fair wearing Nixa High School Gay-Straight Alliance t-shirts. The image captured only the person’s midsection.

The black-and-white shirt is festooned with three restroom sign-looking icon couples—a gay male couple, a heterosexual couple and a lesbian couple. Their arms are slung around each other. Below the row of couples is the word “HARMONY.”

Along with the image of the shirt, Elmer tweeted: “Nixa Schools failure. HS students working elementary school book fair in gay t-shirts.”

“I just think it’s inappropriate to be promoting any sexual relationship in an elementary school, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual,” Elmer told the News-Leader, a Springfield newspaper.

“It’s not a gay rights issue, it’s a parental issue,” the lawmaker added.

Elmer refused to criticize the gay-straight alliance. He said he merely believes an elementary school book fair is the wrong venue for such garb. He suggested that the shirt’s message prevent him from determining when he, as a parent, should discuss the issue with his young children.

Zac Rantz, a Nixa Public Schools spokesman, offered up a milquetoast statement about how the district offers several student-initiated groups.

Stephanie Perkins, deputy director of PROMO, a statewide gay-rights advocacy group, argued that third-graders have probably encountered gay people in their young lives. She advised parents to have age-appropriate discussions with their young children about homosexuality.

Rage over Elmer’s critical tweet was quick and unforgiving. For example, the News-Leader, reports, Twitter user @OldDrum said: “What an interesting failure! Asking students to accept people for who they are. The face of today’s GOP.”

Elmer’s tweet seems to have disappeared. A search for Kevin Elmer on Twitter yields an account with Elmer’s picture and eight tweets.

Condemnation of Elmer continues unabated, though.

One of tweeter Brock Warren’s two angry tweets on the matter reads: “@KevinElmer plays the victim. He complains he can’t be negative about gay people with impunity. How dare they return criticism!”

A Twitter user named Jennifer observes: “If he stands behind the comment, why did he delete it?”

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