Nashville Praises Protesters of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill


The Nashville metro council passed a resolution this week honoring a group of students who protested the state’s proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill which would block mention of homosexuality in years K-8.

From Nashville Public Radio:

In discussion the council split over whether the resolution amounted to a vote in support of gay rights, or just commended students for being civically engaged; ultimately 22 members voted to honor the group. But that question also divided some of the students who took part in the protests.

Hannah Deegan graduated this spring from the University School of Nashville. She says anyone who made the effort to get involved merits recognition, regardless of politics.

“I missed my last day of high school, you know? We really gave it our all. And if there were students doing the same thing on the other side, I think they would deserve it too.”

But Ben Kurland, a classmate of Deegan’s who also took part in the protests, argues the resolution wasn’t just a celebration of democracy, but a comment against “Don’t Say Gay.”

“Clearly it’s a politically motivated statement they’re making here. It’s not really about the democracy of the thing. And I think the democracy of the thing is great; I’m not complaining. I’m just saying it’s a cover story for what they’re trying to do.”

News Channel 5 notes that James Holin, the sponsor of the “non-binding memorializing resolution,” had tried once before to pass the measure. Those that abstained from Tuesday’s vote, including council member Jim Gotto, say the resolution sets a bad precedent.

Senate Bill 49 and counterpart measure House Bill 229 sponsored by state Senator Stacey Campfield and Representative Bill Dunn respectively, both Republicans from Knoxville, prohibits “the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8.” As such, it has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The Senate passed the bill in a 20 to 10 vote in May. Added to SB49 was an amendment that would restrict the legislation’s scope to only ban discussion of homosexuality in prepared materials and instruction

The House has yet to take up the legislation and Tennessee’s governor Bill Haslam has said that the controversial bill has stalled and isn’t going to pass. Campfield denies this claim but it does appear the bill’s forward momentum has dissipated.

The Nashville council also passed a measure Tuesday calling on the council’s legal department to issue an opinion on a lawsuit regarding a state law that overturned the metro council’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. The non-binding resolution asks the department to file a friend-of-the-court brief arguing in favor of those challenging the state law.

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


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution license with thanks to -Marlith-.


Seabert B.
Seabert B6 years ago

What is the problems with these uneducated fools. Someone please educate America fools, no wonder our economy is hurting. Why are we even debating such foolish things. The answer should be clear but not to all I see. If I may help the situation, homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush6 years ago

Some of our southern states, continually, amaze me. As time progresses, they are sounding more and more like the Muslim countries, they profess to hate - stifling free speech and wanting to control the masses.
These people need something more to do, than trying to run other people's lives.
Perhaps, more sex would be a solution.

There has always been and will always be, at the very least, 10% of the population, that is homosexual, and that's not counting bi-sexuals. What is this interest in the sex lives of others? You're talking about a few hours a week.

Are we never going to grow up and let Caesar take care of things that are Caesar's and let god take care of the things that are god's?
When someone tells you they have received a direct message from god, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN.

David Handy
David Handy6 years ago

Dawid B. is obviously unaware that homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973. Homosexuality, heterosexuality, asexuality and bisexuality are all sexual orientations. GET A CLUE ILLITERATE ONE !

Joe R.
Joe R6 years ago

Tennessee - get over your fear of gays. The sky will not fall. The kids will be OK!

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

What this country needs is another, disguting that we should need it, Civil Rights movement for all it's citizens, including LGBT members of our society. You can't tell me an enclusive Civil Rights bill can not be written to enclude everyone.

The Preamble to our Constitution States:
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union establish Justice, insure domestic Transquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberity to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Please note it says, WE THE PEOPLE, not we some of the people, or only a few of the people.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

It's a great thing to see, young people getting involved in issues that will affect the rest of their lives.

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

Dawid, everyone has a "sexual orientation" you know.

Aaron M.
Aaron M.6 years ago

If they don't want Mention of Gays in their schools Then all the Breeders should stop having Gay babies.

Gary Stewart
Gary Stewart6 years ago

I became aware of my sexual orientation (gay) when i was in the fifth grade. I personally would have welcomed reliable information concerning that from educational sources. To me it would seem that confining available information to only heterosexuality in grades K-8 is the dangerous practice, contributing to the feelings of isolation and depression that can lead to suicide in children who feel ostracized for being different. I speak from the experience of the child I was. A child who was taught that heterosexual was the norm and that anything else was abnormal at best and a sin at worst. I believe the only thing thing that prevented me from committing suicide was the fact that I had also been taught that taking your own life was also a sin.

Suzanne B.
Suzanne B6 years ago

This is clear overreach by the state legislature, attempting to bend Nashville,where the duly elected city council passed a non discrimination law, to their narrow ideology. The Dont Say Gay bill is a further attempt by state legislators to do the same thing. As if it will go away of you dont say it. As far as I am concerned, ANY sexual references should be taboo in grades K-4. what is the point of speaking to children about things they do not understand. As far as the upper grades, well, these are the formative years, kids have questions about things they are feeling and those questions should be answered honestly. If I remember correctly, I was about 12 (6th grade) when I started feeling attractions to other girls. I never felt as though I could discuss them at home and my knowledge came from other kids. How can that be right? If a pre teen has questions about what they are feeling and why it is different from what other kids are feeling, a trusted teacher or counselor would be the perfect outlet to express those feelings and doubts. Remove that support system and we see teen suicides climb, more depression, kids becoming outcasts. The legislative restriction of words and thoughts wont make them go away and it is a total rejection of what we, as a nation cherish most;freedom.