---- — Former Grand Traverse County Commissioner Jason Gillman has always had an interesting take on public policy issues. Often factually wrong, or lacking perspective or just plain biased, but interesting.
One of his last acts before (thankfully) leaving the board at the end of the year was to rally his weak-willed colleagues to reject Planned Parenthood's application for a $12,000 grant from the Grand Traverse Band to pay for abstinence-based sex education in area schools.
For a lot of conservatives, teaching abstinence is the Holy Grail of sex education. They say that educating kids about their bodies and telling them how to avoid getting pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted disease, the staples of Planned Parenthood's message, just encourages kids to have sex.
So why reject a grant to teach abstinence? Because, in the world according to Gillman (and a majority of the county board, apparently) Planned Parenthood is evil incarnate.
Gillman said he couldn't support providing any type of aid to Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan, regardless of the program, because "The organization is designed to kill babies."
"The nicer side of it is only there to mask its evil intent. That is to kill babies."
Never mind that Planned Parenthood's actual mission is about sex education (which would mean fewer abortions). And never mind that Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan doesn't perform abortions.
Jason knows better — that they're evil and are willing to help preach abstinence just to cover up their actual intent.
More disappointing is that most of the sheep-like county board went along with him, even though it has passed along Planned Parenthood applications since at least 2009.
This is the same Jason Gillman who, in January of 2010, likened homosexuals to pedophiles and called same-sex relationships "a perversion."
He also Tweeted a vulgar comment about the elimination of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, blogged about his opposition to Traverse City's anti-discrimination ordinance and told the Record-Eagle that "Homosexuality is a perversion ... but I don't care what people do in their own bedroom."
"I'm not hateful, but I have a right to my opinion," Gillman said.
And, apparently, his own facts. It is well documented that pedophilia, a term for an adult's intense sexual interest in prepubescent children, is not linked to homosexuality.
Many people have conservative or liberal views about sex education or homosexuality but most don't bend the facts or feel obligated to broadcast their beliefs to anyone within earshot.
At least taxpayers won't have to pay to hear Gillman spout off anymore.