TN "Don't Say Gay" Bill Advances
The so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill that would forbid educators in Tennessee from mentioning homosexuality to students, advanced out of the state Senate's Education Committee on a 6 to 3 party line vote last Wednesday and will move to the Senate floor.
The bill (see PDF) states that "no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality." An amendment to the bill (see PDF) allows for the adoption of this clause only after a review by the state board of education of "the current curriculum standards for the teaching of sex education or for the teaching of other subjects in which the discussion of human sexuality may occur incidental to the subject." State Senator Stacey Campfield, Chief Sponsor of the bill, has been pushing similar legislation for 6 years, originally in the state House.
In Tennessee, it is already illegal to teach sex education that is outside of the State Board of ducation's "family life curriculum," which excludes any reference to homosexuality.
Ben Byers, spokesman for the Tennessee Equality Project, told On Top Magazine that the measure "limits what teachers and students are able to discuss in the classroom...It means they can't talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have [a] gay family."
Media Resources: Tennessee SB49; Amendment to Tennessee SB49; On Top Magazine 4/21/2011