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Tenn. ’Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Set to Die

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday May 4, 2012

Tennessee's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would prohibit public school teachers from discussing sexuality and LGBT issues, is set to die and it will not be put to a final vote, reported.

The legislation's House sponsor decided to pull the bill on Sunday before it was voted on.

"With that assurance and the opposition of some people who didn't want to vote on it, I've decided simply not to bring it up," GOP sponsor sate Rep. Joey Hensley said, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The bill would have made it illegal for teachers to talk about gay issues to students in kindergarten through grade eight. Teachers were allowed, however, to talk about sexuality only in terms of "natural human reproduction science."

But many gay rights activists saw the legislation as an attack on LGBT students and freedom of speech.

In February students from Nashville high schools protested the bill after a state House committee advanced the measure.

"To me, they're sending a message that in society gay people aren't really equal," said Thomas Kibby, a student from Hume-Fogg High School. "This law would be kind of moving backwards."

Late last month, Missouri's Elementary and Secondary Education Committee advanced a similar bill. The state's controversial legislation would ban discussing topics about the LGBT community and prohibit teachers from addressing anti-gay bullying.

"Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school," House Bill 2051 reads.


  • , 2012-05-05 10:30:09

    Let’s hope their governor follows the same path.

  • Wayne M., 2012-05-07 18:17:40

    Such a bill should never have been advanced in the first place. Although there is really no such thing as "free speech" for teachers inside the classroom (since teachers are bound to teach the curriculum and keep their own personal opinions to themselves), the fact is that every child in every school will have LGBT and Questioning classmates and teachers and many will have parents in same-sex relationships. The place to the school is to teach understanding - even on controversial issues and concerning controversial topics.

  • , 2012-05-14 01:12:21

    I’m sad for those who have to grow up surrounded and polluted by such ignorance. Shame on bigotry!

  • , 2012-05-14 08:44:08

    Legislation like this actually gives me hope. It tells me that the bigots are getting worried about losing the battle (you know, against the homosexual agenda and all that). But it’s too late to turn back now. Sure, Rep. Joey, try to deny sexuality and basic humanity. Eventually, it becomes impossible - and "eventually" means "sooner than you think".

  • , 2012-05-17 19:16:44

    As a lesbian resident of Missouri, this bill makes me sad to my core. Just to know that my state obviously doesn’t stand up for me feels terrible.

  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-05-22 00:56:04

    It saddens me to read that. Life is too damn short...You need to live somewhere that doesn’t impede your feeling wonderful... about yourself and everything that makes you happy. MO doesn’t deserve you or your contributions.

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