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‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill introduced in Missouri state House

By Colin Murphy
Vital Voice
Friday, April 20, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Anti-gay legislation made its comeback in the Missouri legislature on Thursday as House Bill 2051, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cookson (R-Dist. 153), was referred to the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

The bill, co-sponsored by members of the House Majority leadership, including Speaker-elect Tim Jones (R-Dist. 89), Rep. John Diehl (R-Dist. 87) and current Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Dist. 106).

The text of the bill is short, but the intent is wide-ranging:

170.370. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.

The bill, widely believed to violate of the First Amendment guarantee of Freedom of Speech, not only attempts to prohibit schools from even discussing gay and lesbian issues; it also aims to keep Gay-Straight Alliances from meeting on school grounds as approved extracurricular entities.

For the last several years – PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization and its allies have worked to advance pro-LGBT legislation, and have seen steady, continuing success.

“Filing this bill is a desperate tactic by frightened, bigoted, cynical individuals who are terrified at the advancement the LGBT community has made in breaking down the barriers to full and equal treatment under the law,” said PROMO Executive Director, A.J. Bockelman.

“Why else would they file a bill so clearly out of step with the growing trend for fairness in this state when similar legislation filed in Tennessee last year led that state’s legislature to become the object of national ridicule?” he asked.

“It’s clear that this proposed bill does absolutely nothing to protect students,” continued Bockelman. “In some ways, however, these enemies of Freedom of Speech have done us a favor. By attempting to coerce teachers and students into making this core reality of our lives literally unspeakable, they have only proved why LGBT students need greater, better, and stronger protection in our schools.”

Missouri is not the first state to push the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Tennessee advanced similar legislation through multiple votes last year, drawing national ridicule, as well as opposition from their Republican governor, Bill Haslam. Despite that legislation’s failure — Tennessee lawmakers introduced a nearly identical bill this session, which was approved by a state House committee earlier this week.

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Filed under: Missouri

34 more reader comments:

  1. dislike

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:02pm
  2. One step forward, two steps back…

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:02pm
  3. -trying not to make jokes about the south-

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:03pm
  4. The US Supreme Court will render these intolerant bills as unconstitutional!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:03pm
  5. thesepeople are CRAZY destroy minorities hurt wome nand children

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:03pm
  6. this country is so screwd up its not funie.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:04pm
  7. There sure has been a lot of anti-gay movements recently. I guess we’re starting to become a real annoyance. :D

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:04pm
  8. booo ,,, , ,, ,, ,Hisssssss

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:06pm
  9. Brittany, Missouri is not a southern state-with that being said Missouri is my home state so i am not surprised by this-but lets remember this close minded crap is NOT only a southern/middle USA problem

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:07pm
  10. so say Takei!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:08pm
  11. So this state is on my do not visit ever list now

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:08pm
  12. smells like St. Petersburg, Russia…

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:08pm
  13. CRAZY!!!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:08pm
  14. Oh my god…this cannot be happening…if this passes all GSAs and University LGBT groups would be eradicated! We need to contact representatives NOW Missourians!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:10pm
  15. A couple of the ga-ga-gayest people I know work in the Missouri government. Now I know why they pronounce it Misery.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:11pm
  16. K I am a Southerner and the problem doesnt lie only with southerners. It is a worldwide problem. Discriminating against Southerners is the same thing that you are arguing about southerners doing. Reverse discrimination. God creaeted us all equally no matter what, who, where, we are. And we only answer to Him for whats right or wrong int he end.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:12pm
  17. GAY!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:15pm
  18. fuck this, god was supposed to create us all equally

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:16pm
  19. well considering we refer to it as “Mo” ssouri, it’s the best for all those closet cases in politics!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:17pm
  20. I cannot believe this….why are we still fighting this.fight !!!???

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:19pm
  21. Please…can’t we just stop dicking around with this on a state level and pass federal legislation to make all these hatemongering state initiatives moot? We are wasting too much time and energy focusing on changing people who won’t budge. There are more important issues that deserve our attention, such as addressing the problem of LGBTQ suicide.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:20pm
  22. This is despicable…. And to think I wanted to move to Missouri at one point…. Sickening.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:21pm
  23. I expect Missourians to get loud about this.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:25pm
  24. As a native born Missourian, this is sickening. Shame on each person who supports this bigoted, moronic, and narrow-minded bill…

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:26pm
  25. Uh, I LIKE saying the word GAY, when it applies to me like boys. I mean…seriously…I’m not going to call myself “homosexual.” That makes me fucking feel like a science fair project. And do you see straight people calling themselves “Heterosexual”? No. WHY? Cause it makes em feel like a science project! Maybe if we gays didn’t make “gay” seem like it was a bad annoying thing. People would totally say gay as people would say “straight.” I mean I am gay but do I make myself into a travesty (look it up in the dictionary *sigh* cause I did NOT try and say tragedy) of a woman?

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:29pm
  26. No. I stayed a dude. A bro to my broski’s.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:29pm
  27. And that’s why people are more respectful to me and my orientation. Also, I am one of the few who live in the South. Thank y’all. *tips hat*

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:30pm
  28. Yeah right lets see them try to enforce that one. Just fuckin stupid as the repubs are. The bigoted nation they have become.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:37pm
  29. WHAT????????

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 4:44pm
  30. Great! First TN, then MO – I”m not surprised!

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 5:30pm
  31. sad country

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 5:48pm
  32. I am ashamed my great grandfather was into such a bigoted state.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 6:22pm
  33. another lack of intelligence heard from.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:11pm
  34. Oh, for Chrissake.

    Posted on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 12:46am