Tenn. Lawmakers Advance ’Don’t Say Gay’ Bill
A Tennessee House subcommittee this week has given the green light to the "Don’t Say Gay" bill, the Tennessean reported.
The bill, which was introduced by Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield, would prohibit public school teachers from mentioning homosexuality and LGBT issues to students until they enter the ninth grade. Additionally, the measure would mandate that only "natural human reproduction science" be taught in public schools.
The House Education Subcommittee approved the bill on a voice vote. The state Senate passed the measure during last year’s session and the full House is expected to vote on the bill before the Legislature adjourns in the spring.
Those who support the proposal say it will allow parents to control when and howtheir children learn about LGBT issues. Campfield said elementary and middle school students should not hear about gays because "homosexuals don’t naturally reproduce."
"The basic right as an American is my right to life, my right to liberty and my right to the pursuit of happiness," added state Rep. John DeBerry. "Within that includes being able to run my home, raise my children as I see fit and indoctrinate them as I see fit."
Opponents of the "Don’t Say Gay" bill say that students who hear anti-gay slurs and incorrect information about the LGBT community before reaching the ninth grade won’t be correctly educated on gay issues.
"As introduced, the bill requires that ’no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality,’ " noted a posting at Change.org. "This bill would tie the hands of school counselors, school psychologists, teachers, principals and other school employees in protecting our children. If a child is experiencing issues relating to their sexual orientation or identity, they would be unable to discuss those issues with the adults who are supervising and teaching them. Early detection of the signs of depression can help prevent suicides among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth."