Spellings, who the UNC-system Board of Governors elected by a unanimous vote Friday, was asked about comments she made in 2005 when she pushed for a PBS television program that would have featured a lesbian couple to be pulled off the air.
Spellings was the Secretary of Education under former President George W. Bush at the time and sent a letter to the PBS president saying, “Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in the episode.”
“I have no comments about those lifestyles,” she said at a press conference Friday, saying her issue at the time was with federal funds being used.
This comment prompted a social media firestorm, as people questioned Spellings’ ability to lead a system with what they see as antiquated views on homosexuality.
“To say it is a lifestyle choice does a huge disservice to people like me who went through this,” said Zack King, the first UNC-System Association of Student Governments President who is openly gay.
“I think it is imperative to educate our kids with a full range of what families are or can be.”
Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride — a national advocacy group for LGBT issues on college campuses based in Charlotte — said the term “lifestyles” was troubling.
“We are in 2015. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans — they’re people, they’re not lifestyles,” he said. “She should know better, she’s an educated woman ... it’s ridiculous, it’s moronic. It shows she has not evolved one bit in the last 10 years.”