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Mo. Rep. Upset by Pro-Tolerance Shirt at Book Fair

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NIXA, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri state representative said he was unhappy that two high school students were wearing gay-supportive T-shirts while working at an elementary school book fair.

Rep. Kevin Elmer, a Republican from Nixa, said Thursday that he saw the shirts promoting the Nixa High School Gay-Straight Alliance at his third-grade child’s elementary school. The shirt features an icon of gay, straight and lesbian couples with their arms around each other’s shoulders, with the word “HARMONY.”

Elmer tweeted Thursday “Nixa Schools failure. HS students working elementary school book fair in gay t-shirts,” along with a picture of the T-shirt.

Elmer told The Springfield News-Leader that he did not object to high school students belonging to the gay-straight alliance or expressing their views, but that he doesn’t think they should be doing so at an elementary school.

“I just think it’s inappropriate to be promoting any sexual relationship in an elementary school, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual,” Elmer said.

He said he should be able to decide when to discuss certain topics with his children.

“It’s not a gay rights issue, it’s a parental issue,” Elmer said.

Stephanie Perkins, deputy director of PROMO, a Missouri LGBT advocacy organization, said children as young as third grade have likely had interactions with gay and lesbians, and that parents should have age-appropriate conversations with their children about the topic.

Nixa schools spokesman Zac Rantz said the district has many student-initiated organizations, from Gay-Straight Alliance to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other groups.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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