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Tennessee

Tennessee House committee approves ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill was approved by a state House committee on Tuesday.

The Tennessee state House Education Committee approved the legislation by a vote of 8-7. The measure had initially failed on a voice vote, but passed in a roll call vote requested by its sponsor.

The proposed legislation would restrict all sexually related instruction in the state’s schools to “natural human reproduction science” in grades kindergarten through eighth.

Rep. Joey Hensley (R), a leading sponsor of legislation, said a survey of his district showed “well over 95 percent … don’t want homosexuality discussed in those grade levels.”

“So that’s what pushed me over the line to go ahead with the bill,” he said.

Hensley said the bill was amended to allow students to ask teachers or guidance counselors questions about alternative lifestyles, but “teachers can’t teach that as an acceptable lifestyle.”

Hensley added that the amended version of the bill should pacify those concerned the proposal would prevent teachers and others from speaking out against the bullying of gay teens.

Critics have charged that the measure is unnecessary, as state education officials have publicly said that alternative lifestyle discussions are already banned from the state school’s curricula guidelines.

Democratic Representative John Deberry of Memphis said, “I agree that these are issues that do not need to be put in front elementary children. However, officials say this is already state policy. And because it’s policy already, there was just no point in mudding the water.”

A companion bill passed the state’s Senate in a 19-10 vote last year. The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.

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38 more reader comments:

  1. Are you freaking kidding me!? Damn homophobes, get a life!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:37pm
  2. Oh yeah? Well “poop” means Tennessee now in my state.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:39pm
  3. Tennessee seems to be leading the way to the bottom

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:39pm
  4. Pure ignorance !

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:40pm
  5. All these crazy laws will be overturned after November and I think they know that

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:40pm
  6. It’s alright Albert. Remember this is Tennesee, the deep south. Probably the only people in the world dumb enough to celebrate and reenact a war they actually lost almost150 years ago.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:41pm
  7. *facepalm*

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:46pm
  8. Wow… this blows my mind that in this day and age something like this could actually pass. *shakes head*

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:46pm
  9. @Dylan…take a step back. We southerners are not all ignorant or dumb. I’m offended by that statement.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:47pm
  10. hey…i take serious offense to that statement..i was born and raised in TN…not everyone is like that u fuckin prick

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:49pm
  11. Don’t forget that It’s ok to be Takei TN, since you’re not allowed to say gay.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:49pm
  12. Don’t take Gay Dollars to
    Pay your Salaries!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:49pm
  13. One giant leap backwards! Ridiculous!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:49pm
  14. Not all of TN is like that…most of the sponsors and supporters of that bill are from EAST TN…which is ridiculous considering per capita there are more gay bars/club in that part of the state than any other part…so Dylan, you need to go get bent

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:50pm
  15. The GOP trifecta of “GUNS, GAYS and GOD” is almost completed in the regressive state of Tennessee. As the entire antion rolls thier eyes, our lawmakers show thier fear and paranoia over gays. As if homosexuality is a hotbed of disscussion in middle school. Oh Tennessee…you are sliding back to the dark ages. Anti-gay legislation, creationism (Chrisitian I’m sure, not Hindu , etc.) in science classes, guns in bars and churches, pro-bullying. What is next? Let me guess…women’s reproduction rights or our immigrants.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:50pm
  16. It has been 1 year free of the South and never plan to return to that hell hole! The South Sucks! Those People Voted those ass in to office and now they pay the price!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:52pm
  17. It amazes me how hateful the American Christian God is to our children. to deny drugs affects our communities would be immoral, to ignore how accidents with guns in the home is a tragedy would be ignorant but to deny the existence of an entire section of the Human community in the name of a God is just two steps from irrelevance as o a community.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:53pm
  18. Tennessee is really not the deep south (try Mississippi), and I don’t appreciate you stereotyping my state. Being prejudice to people in the south is the same prejudice that happens in the gay community. There are a lot of good people in this part of the country, but after eight years of having Phil Bredeson as the state governor who normally veto ridiculous bills like this we have GOP superstar Bill Haslam who also allowed the Monkey Bill to pass. The attack on homosexuality, science, and most especially women (with all the anti-abortion/contraceptive laws that have been happening in state legislatures) is just a conservative shit charade. Millionaires go into these areas and pump money into a single issue until numerous laws that are all socially backwards become reality. Reason for doing this is to show big government that states still have a lot of power, to eliminate funding and knowledge of organizations, peoples, or facts so that future generations vote the same way their parents did. Most of these states will go back to liberal governors and possibly state senators thus calling repeal of these stupid bills.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:54pm
  19. All I can say is “Idiots!”

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:56pm
  20. Yes, honey. TN *is* the deep south too and just as bad as MS. No one can deny that madness.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:00pm
  21. I am sure there are a lot of people in the state that hates this as much as we do and hopefully they will make their voices heard at the ballot box and send these bigots packing. In the mean time we don’t have to spend our money in the state either as long as these people are calling the shots.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:03pm
  22. ALL “THE PEOPLE” NEED TO DO IS CONTACT THEIR ELECTED BIGOTS AND REMIND THEM HOW THEY GOT PUT IN OFFICE!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:08pm
  23. Time to stop defending Tennessee’s reputation and start organizing letter and phone campaigns. It’s time to get loud.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:30pm
  24. I’ve seen a lot of oppressive and deplorable bills by pseudo-Christians and pseudo-Republicans, but I daresay this one’s among the worst! What do they seek? Are they REALLY that drunk with power?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 8:24pm
  25. And up next: hunting and killing gay kids! Oh wait…they kill themselves because of laws like these…

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 8:30pm
  26. DON’T SAY? DON’T SAY!??!!!? Restriction of first amendment. Someone should sue.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 8:41pm
  27. Christians who make up and support bills like these make all of us Christians look bad. :(

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 8:55pm
  28. Doesn’t TN have anything better to spend money on?? What happened to freedom of speech???

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 9:31pm
  29. sucks

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 9:36pm
  30. Well that is beyond depressing..but unforntunately I figured it would pass :-(

    Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 11:45pm
  31. State of New Jersey Assembly passes “Don’t say Tennessee” bill

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 2:47am
  32. How can they approve something they can’t say?

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 3:46am
  33. The view from Canada is that the state is backward!

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 4:50am
  34. ALEC hard at work.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:38am
  35. Bra-ha-ha. Like it makes us go away like Beetlejuice.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:47am
  36. Tennessee, Fuck you!

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 8:52am
  37. GAY! GAY GAY! Now go get F’d Tennessee.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:02pm
  38. I guess they will have to say “Takei” instead : )

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 4:10pm