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Don’t Say Gay Bill Needed to Keep Indoctrinating Children, Claims Rep

Don’t Say Gay Bill Needed to Keep Indoctrinating Children, Claims Rep

 

Tennessee’s highly criticized “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would ban mention of sexuality other than in terms of reproduction for K-8 was this week advanced by the Tennessee House Education subcommittee, with one Democratic lawmaker supporting the bill as a matter of life, liberty and his right to “indoctrinate” and “train” his children.

The bill passed on a voice vote but, like the Senate version passed last year, it was amended so that discussion of sexuality is barred except for talking about “natural human reproduction science.”  This, supporters claim, erases the perceived gag rule on discussing gay identity and thus makes the bill more palatable by sidestepping the so-called “hysteria” the bill caused last year.

Via On Top Magazine:

The amendment was offered by the bill’s original sponsor in the House, Rep. Bill Dunn.

“What this amendment does is keep us in line with current curriculum,” Dunn told colleagues. “This bill, if amended, does not prohibit the use of the word ‘gay,’ it does not change the anti-bullying statute, and it does not prohibit a school guidance counselor from discussing the issues of sexuality with a student.”

Opponents contend that this does not in fact change the anti-gay nature of the bill.

Indeed, Senator Stacey Campfield, the bill’s chief proponent, is quoted as saying that the Senate amendment to the bill still bans mention of homosexuality because same-sex couples can’t reproduce.

However, perhaps the most interesting comment during the 30 minute hearing on the bill came from Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, who said he supports the bill’s aims because, he claims, it is his right to indoctrinate his children as he sees fit.

Via The Tennessean:

“The basic right as an American is my right to life, my right to liberty and my right to the pursuit of happiness,” said state Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, arguing to keep the subject of homosexuality out of elementary school classrooms. “Within that includes being able to run my home, raise my children as I see fit and to indoctrinate them as I see fit.”

DeBerry reportedly went on to say that, lest his remarks be labelled homophobic, “We put “phobia” on the end of words, and then we automatically demonize someone who has an opposing view. What this bill does is it says everybody has the right to train their children.”

Only one panel member, Democratic House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, opposed the measure, saying, “I really don’t know the purpose in bringing this legislation again. It looks to me like a solution looking for a problem.”

This would be in line with a notion the Tennessee board of education has repeatedly expressed when it has testified that such legislation isn’t necessary due to the sate’s existing “family orientated” curriculum which places an emphasis on the “traditional” family unit.

Senate Bill 49 and counterpart measure House Bill 229 sponsored by state Senator Stacey Campfield and (formerly sponsored) by Representative Bill Dunn respectively, both Republicans from Knoxville, was in its original form designed to prohibit “the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8.”

The Senate passed the bill in a 20 to 10 vote in May of last year with the aforementioned amendment relating to “natural human reproductive science.”

The House bill now goes to a full Education Committee vote as soon as next week, and conceivably could be passed before the end of the legislative session, though the exact level of support among House legislators remains unclear.

Governor Haslam has previously said that he doesn’t want the state’s Legislature focusing on this issue. It remains to be seen, however, whether Haslam would veto the legislation if it were to reach his desk.

Related Reading:

Tennessee Senate Okays ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in School Bill

TN ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Schools Bill Unlikely To Get House Vote Before 2012

Tennesseans Go to Court Over State Ban on Gay Nondiscrimination Ordinance

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to JenLight.

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46 comments

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11:27PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

The last line of Amy B.'s posting says it all; It is possible to not agree with something, but still respect the rights of others.'

The very basic tenet of all religions is an elitist, 'chosen people' dogma. They all satisfy the definition of cults. Their adherents are taught that only their teachings are the deity-given Truth, that this Truth must be indoctrinated into the children, and that people who don't agree with these teachings are the enemy. The difference between religions and cults is that religions are deemed valid.

6:33AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

It is Tennessee, where it is OK if your sister and your mom are the same person, but you can't even talk about gays or evolution.

8:55AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

“We put “phobia” on the end of words, and then we automatically demonize someone who has an opposing view."
I wouldn't go so far as to call you a "demon" Rep. DeBerry, but I would call you an ignorant, hateful man who is enabling the cycle of shame and misinformation that runs rampant in this country.
But not a "demon." That would just be silly.
I don't need to use the word "homophobic" to make you sound worse than you've already made yourself sound. I'm afraid for your kids, growing up with the kinds of views you're hoping to instill in them is going to cause them a lot of problems in the future.

8:54AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

“We put “phobia” on the end of words, and then we automatically demonize someone who has an opposing view."
I wouldn't go so far as to call you a "demon" Rep. DeBerry, but I would call you an ignorant, hateful man who is enabling the cycle of shame and misinformation that runs rampant in this country.
But not a "demon." That would just be silly.
I don't need to use the word "homophobic" to make you sound worse than you've already made yourself sound. I'm afraid for your kids, growing up with the kinds of views you're hoping to instill in them is going to cause them a lot of problems in the future.

7:59PM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

The right to bully, brainwash and misinform other people's children, more like.

11:22AM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

When I was in high school, a health teacher was threatened with the loss of her job because she talked to us about "safe sex". It's no different today--nearly half a century later.
Kids need to know how to protect themselves. They have feelings they want to explore,
and a lot of young people think anything short of coitus is "not sex", leading to a high rate of STDs and unexpected pregnancies--yes, that little sperm can get where you don't want it without intercourse.
Ignorance is not bliss--it can be deadly.

3:43PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

This means "Don't say education" either...

11:10AM PST on Feb 23, 2012

If this sorry excuse for a man is so worried about what his kids are being taught in public school, why doesn't he just home-school them or transfer them to a religious school that can "indoctrinate" them all day long?

I thought the purpose of public school was to give children a WELL-ROUNDED education in a variety of subjects; not to intentionally (and dangerously) keep them ignorant about the world around them.

These religious fundies have no place in public office!

10:10AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

well, you know that they are only trying to pass it this way now, because they couldn't get away with the even more homophobic version of the bill,
but even putting that whole issue aside

do they really think that banning discussion on sexuality in schools is productive?
If you want to increase the number of teen pregnancies,
here's a good way.
Man, you'd think that people would realize this by now.

You need to talk about these things in school so that kids know to use protection if they are going to have sex.

Also, I found DeBerry's comments pretty hypocritical to say the least:
“The basic right as an American is my right to life, my right to liberty and my right to the pursuit of happiness"

and does he believe that this right does not extend to anyone who is gay?
Don't try to hold yourself up on a pedestal about rights if you believe that only certain people are eligible because that goes against the whole concept of civil rights.

8:45PM PST on Feb 19, 2012

I made a video about why Homosexuals should have equal rights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdK5ETOJusw

Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil Homophobes.

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