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NO. R-176. JOINT RESOLUTION CONGRATULATING KRISTEN NUGENT AND PATRICK RAYMOND FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO END DISCRIMINATION AGAINST AND INTOLERANCE TOWARDS GAY, LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL STUDENTS AT RUTLAND HIGH SCHOOL.

(J.R.H. 127)

Offered by: Representatives Howard of Rutland Town, Alberico of Rutland City, Carmolli of Rutland City, Kreitzer of Rutland City, Lippert of Hinesburg, Mazzariello of Rutland City, Moore of Rutland City, Parizo of Essex, Smith of Sudbury, Snyder of Pittsford and Sweaney of Windsor.

Whereas, Act No. 132 of the 1992 session of the Vermont General Assembly prohibits

discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation, and

Whereas, despite this landmark legislation, gay, lesbian and bisexual Vermonters continue to experience discrimination, and

Whereas, the discrimination, by their peers, of young persons who have a nontraditional sexual orientation is emotionally harmful and personally devastating,

Whereas, Rutland High School seniors, Kristen Nugent and Patrick Raymond, deeply offended that classmates who are gay, lesbian or bisexual were being subjected to mistreatment, decided to circulate a petition in support of their beleaguered classmates, neither knowing the depth of support that they would gather nor the amount of ridicule that they might unleash, and

Whereas, in furtherance of the petition drive, Patrick, in his capacity as editor of the school's newspaper, the Red and White, penned a supportive editorial that was subsequently reprinted in the Rutland Herald, and

Whereas, despite a few instances of criticisms, Kristen and Patrick were delighted that over 200 students signed the petition which immediately triggered a forum with the school's faculty to address the presence of sexual orientation discrimination at Rutland High School, and

Whereas, in recognition of this significant and unselfish campaign to improve personal respect and community awareness, Kristen and Patrick have received many accolades and were deeply moved to be cited at a recent Martin Luther King Day interfaith service, and

Whereas, in order to enhance and continue the important dialogue that has now developed at Rutland High School, Kristen and Patrick have organized a Gay-Straight Alliance, and

Whereas, they have met with Governor Dean in the hopes that the Vermont Department of Education will facilitate similar community conversations at other schools, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly congratulates Kristen Nugent and Patrick Raymond for their initiative and dedication to ending discrimination and intolerance against young persons on account of their sexual orientation, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Kristen Nugent, Patrick Raymond and the principal of Rutland High School.