‘Don’t Say Gay’ One Step Closer in Tennessee


House lawmakers this week advanced the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, moving it forward from a House Education committee on a 8-7 vote.

Reports The Tennessean:

Bill sponsor Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, and others argued that outside groups and some teachers slip those conversations in, and the bill serves as an accountability reminder.

“I have two children — in the third- and fourth-grade — and don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t agree with,” Hensley said. “… Even though the state board disallows this now, I’m afraid it does happen, and sex education is talked about in a way that it is acceptable.”

Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, who voted for the bill, said he’s seen documentation that outside groups are entering classrooms at the invitation of principals and teachers and not staying within the curriculum guidelines.
“And they should,” he said after the vote.

Schools caught in violation of the state’s sex education policies can have state money withheld, and teachers face a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail, according to state law. The bill passed the Senate last year.

Supporters of the bill have not so far been able to produce proof that the bill is needed, they’ve simply made accusations that teachers are flouting the rules.

Interestingly, not all Republican lawmakers voted in favor, highlighting that there are still deep concerns about the bill and specifically over whether it will actually serve to inadvertently introduce sex education to K-8 in a state that has vigorously opposed such moves.

The legislation would originally have banned all mention of sexuality in K-8. The amended bill as passed by the Senate last year aims to reduce that reach, confining teachers to talking about sexuality only in terms of “natural human reproduction science.”

However, the bill has offered no explanation of what that should mean. Does it, for instance, ban mention of IVF treatment? And does it effectively allow for sex education for K-8 students?

Due to these concerns, the bill had been held back with another measure requiring so-called “family life education” with an abstinence only bent being a focus, but now it seems the bill’s chief supporter, Rep. Hensley, wants one last chance at making “Don’t Say Gay” the law of the land before the end of the session.

As for the Republican governor Bill Haslam, he has spoken out three times to remind lawmakers they should be concentrating on issues like the economy.

Critics have said the legislation, even in its modified form, will have a chilling effect on how teachers deal with anti-LGBT bullying, that it is entirely unnecessary given that Tennessee already has a strict no sex education before highschool policy, and that it is simply about pushing a conservative religious agenda.

The bill now goes to a calendar committee before a full floor vote.

Tennessee of course recently passed a bill to allow teachers to instruct on Creationism as an alternative to scientific fact and advanced a bill describing hand-holding as gateway sexual activity.


Related Reading:

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

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


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Rochelle, just Rochelle.


Beth B.
Beth Bellows5 years ago

So according to these lunatics, holding my 3-yr-old daughter's hand while we cross the street is foreplay? And then what? Do I get arrested for corrupting the morals of a minor? How many prisons will TN have to build to house all the people who will be sentenced to jail for being human?

Barbara U.
Barbara U5 years ago

TN should be boycotted by the rest of the country. They are anti-education, anti-women, anti-science, anti-anything that promotes independant thought......

Melanie Clark
Melanie Clark5 years ago

This law is confusing to me. I would never think of this as a right thing to do. Like kids starting having sex younger now and some of them end up pregnant. Also, doesn't Tennessee have like a high rating for teen pregnancies? Anyway, this law makes no sense at all whatsoever. I think that we are going backwards instead of forwards now. All these laws against women and birth control and sex. This just isn't right at all.

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B.5 years ago

Gay boys often know who they are by the age of 10. Are they supposed to be kept ignorant all through early adolescence? As for sex ed, girls, unfortunately, often become sexually active by 12 or 13, seducing older boys who may think they are 16. Should they not at least know the consequences? And this in a state that is trying to call an embryo a person. Tennesse is getting as ignorant as Louisiana. Too bad. Pretty state. Great aquarium and Dolly Parton too.

Kyrie F.
Kyrie F.5 years ago

Ummm... that is called DISCRIMINATION! Yeah that is illegal in public schools. I hope this stupididty doesn't leak into KY

Rin S.
Rin S5 years ago

Are these people serious? Even if they're not exposed to it in school, homosexuality is everywhere. The children who are gay are going to be even more confused if people don't make sure that they know that it IS okay to be gay.

Beth Elisa
Beth Elisa5 years ago

how about teach, "it's okay to be gay"? if they'd teach that in the beginning instead of ignoring the topic 100% they wouldn't have to worry about dealing with anti- LGBT bullying because it wouldn't happen!!!!

Jojo Sowilo
Jojo Sowilo5 years ago

this makes me so sad, it really is time for man to stand down they are killing us, and this beautiful planet, but l know, unless women stand up all together all over the world and say, no more this will go on and on until with have no rights what so ever, l have always believed we could all work together but man has shown he can not, not all men are like that thank god.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

Thanks Karen and Ed...."Don't say gay, say Takei." Shame on you Tennessee.

Ahron E.
Ahron E5 years ago

marie g. How come in the name of your god of love and the relgion of turn the other cheek non believers were burnt at the stake?