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Debate on Tennessee’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill delayed in committee

Staff Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A controversial piece of legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — which would ban Tennessee public schools from teaching about LGBTQ issues — was delayed from a vote Wednesday after its sponsor claimed two fellow Republicans on the committee “weren’t very familiar with it” and wanted more time to review the proposal.

The legislation sponsored by Representative Joey Hensley, (R-Hohenwald) which was scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the House Education Subcommittee, limits all sexually related instruction to “natural human reproduction science” in kindergarten through the eighth grades.

A similar measure passed the Senate in 2011.

Representative Hensley said he plans to now amend his version to reflect the language of the Senate measure telling reporters that he believes it will pass.

Though supporters of the bill assert that it is ideologically neutral, and allows families to discuss the sensitive topic of sexuality when parents feel their children are ready, many have noted that the bill actually ostracizes LGBT students since it promotes heterosexuality as the only form of sexuality that can be discussed by teachers.

Opponents of the bill also claim it will prevent teachers and school officials from preventing the bullying of LGBTQ youths.

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