The Senate followed North Carolina conservative Sen. Jesse Helms's lead with a 63-36 vote to cut off federal funds to any school district that teaches acceptance of homosexuality as a lifestyle. The proposal, by Helms and another Republican, New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, popped up in the middle of debate over renewing the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, which provides $12.5 billion to the nation's public schools. The measure, which needs a House vote to become reality, would cut federal aid to districts that "carry out a program or activity that has either the purpose or effect of encouraging or supporting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative." But Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., said the provision would also forbid counseling of gay students, who he said are up to three times as likely to commit suicide as other teen-agers. "We simply can't do that," he said, calling the amendment "very mean-spirited."