‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill to Get First House Reading


Tennessee’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, that would ban mention of homosexuality in schools, is to be taken up by a House subcommittee on Wednesday.

KnoxNews reports that state Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) said on Tuesday that he had turned the legislation over to state Rep. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), and that he had done so “for strategic reasons.”

More on that from The Tennessean:

Now the bill has a new sponsor, state Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, who says he stepped in because he believes the bill has the support to pass.

“Rep. Dunn is carrying some other very important education legislation for the governor,” Hensley said. “We didn’t want people in the media and other people to get it mixed up … so we felt like it would be easier for me to run it.”

Dunn reportedly believes that the bill, in its modified form, will pass and has said that he certainly intends to vote for it.

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 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. However, added to SB49 was an amendment that would restrict the legislation’s scope to only ban discussion of homosexuality in prepared materials and instruction, though critics point out that this doesn’t eliminate the problem of effectively banning mention of LGBT identity.

Even though the Tennessee board of education has repeatedly said that such legislation isn’t necessary due to the sate’s existing “family orientated” curriculum which places an emphasis on the “traditional” family unit, Campfield and Dunn have consistently advocated for the change.

Campfield once likened homosexuality to bestiality, something critics say shows the animus behind the bill. However, this is a charge that Campfield has denied, saying the legislation is designed to stop “radical” teachers from pushing their various “agendas” in schools, and that it is necessary so that “families [can] handle that issue.”

UPDATE: Joey Hensley has delayed plans on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and it did not get a committee hearing yesterday. Find out more here.

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

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


John A.
John Abeel6 years ago

Why doesn't the religious right just lock all of the kids in a big plastic bubble and when they turn 21 they could be set free into a world that they knew nothing about?

Marilyn J Leger
Marilyn L6 years ago

Does ignoring facts really ever work in the long run? Doesn't it just set us up for greater turmoil & potentially violent revolution later?

Rin S.
Rin S6 years ago

We cannot let this bill pass, seriously. The poor children are going to be even more confused.

Jeanne M.
Jeanne M6 years ago

"...the private language where 'traditional values' meant 'Let's hang somebody'. ~ Terry Pratchett

New G.
W. C6 years ago

Disturbing, thank you.

Chad A.
Chad Anderson6 years ago

I thought schools were about teaching facts and that families and communities provide values... I am uncomfortable when the state abandons fact and enforces values.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Margaret P. Kids need not only be taught how to protrect themselves against strangers. It's not strangers that stand for most of abuses against children. BTW, since children these days get a lot of "sex education" from the web, TV and movies, why not give them facts instead of mythology? Let's give the teachers a chance. Most of them are actually good at their work. (Why would they stay and educate for such measley salaries if they weren't really into their work?) And sex-ed is not only about sexual acts. It's about feelings and changes and so many other things. Also, if more children get this education from a young age, we would se a decline in teen pregnancies because they were taught from a young age that love comes in all forms. The actual sexuality part of sex-ed could come later. But as soon as kids begin school, education about all surrounding humaity should be a part of the curriculum.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Kenneth W. Have you totally missed out on all the tragic stories about young LGBTQ that have committed suicide the last couple of years due to not having support and being bullied without schools intervening? If kids from an early age gets education about diversity, learn to be kind and open-minded and that there are no preferred way of life just as long as you're happy to be with the one you love. BTW, traditional marriage haven't been along for more than a couple of centuries, so it can't be so very traditional. Marriage have always been a contract. Only recently (less than 100 years) it's been mixed in with love. Back to the issue of education. I rather see a new generation of compassionate young adults with generosity towards eachother, than a bunch of haters with issues against people they are taught to dismiss. Let's hope the Tennessee public replaces these morons the next time they are up for elections.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

Are others having problems logging in to Care 2? I have been and I'm about to do away with this site all together. :(

Marie M.
Marie M6 years ago

Way to tell it Ryder!!! Talking about there being more than one type of family (including single parent as well as homosexual) would fall under human sexuality, and that there is more than one way to be a family and/or also rear children. That has nothing to do with sex education. Sex is what everyone gets so hung up about. When I meet someone new, my first thought is not 'I wonder what they do in bed?', but apparently that's where the anti-anything but straight people's minds are. If a person is a consenting adult, it's none of my business what they do in private. I don't care what homosexual people do, I don't care what bi or transsexual people do, and I don't care what snickering judgemental straight people do either, it's their own business!!! At least as far as sex goes, I do care about their attitudes and beliefs. I care about the way they treat other people, animals, the earth and environment. Those areas are where I take my stand. What someone does in bed affects no one else - unless you decide that what you do should be 'right' and 'the only acceptable thing'. Take a good look at some of the recent and fairly recent disclosures regarding suppose religious and political role models, talk about hypocritical. How about saying it like it is, they are liars and deceivers. Ryder made several good points, probably the most important that if we are not taught empathy and respect at home we need to learn it elsewhere. Let me see, people who are judgmental, wan