NASHVILLE — Tennessee’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, will not be put to a final vote needed for passage in the Tennessee state House, according to the bill’s sponsor.
The proposed legislation would have restricted all sexually related instruction in the state’s schools to “natural human reproduction science” in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The decision by Rep. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), means that SB49 will die with the adjournment of the 107th General Assembly this week, reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Hensley said the officials of the Department of Education and the state Board of Education have pledged to send a letter to all Tennessee schools “telling them they cannot teach this subject in grades kindergarten through eight.”
“With that assurance and the opposition of some people who didn’t want to vote on it, I’ve decided simply not to bring it up,” said Hensley.
The bill, in its amended form, would have allowed students to ask teachers or guidance counselors questions about “alternative lifestyles,” according to Hensley, but that teachers would be prohibited from teaching homosexuality “as an acceptable lifestyle.”
Since the bill was first introduced in 2008 by then-State Rep. Stacey Campfield (now the bill’s chief sponsor in the Senate), 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.