The "Ex-Gay" Myth and Why it Failed Me Read More!

The infamous “Don’t Say Gay” (HB0229) bill cleared the Tennessee House Education Subcommittee yesterday after a voice vote. The bill was first championed by confirmed bachelor State Senator Stacey Campfield, who spent more than six years trying to get similar bills through the state legislature.

Campfield gained further notoriety when he embarrassed himself with bogus statistics while being interviewed by Sirius OutQ radio show host Michelangelo Signorile. He was also gloriously thrown out on his ass by a restauranteur in Knoxville.

How I wish I could have seen that.

The bill has garnered national criticism from bloggers, comedians, actors, and politicians alike. George Takei, famous for his role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, offered the “use of his name” for the cause. “Instead of gay pride parades, let’s call them Takei pride parades,” or during the Christmas season, sing, “don we now our Takei apparel.”

Opponents to the bill filled the room with a sea of purple shirts.

The Tennessean reported on the subcommittee meeting (hat tip, Towleroad):

The House Education subcommittee approved the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill on a voice vote Wednesday, renewing a debate that roiled the legislature last spring over whether elementary and middle schools should be allowed to initiate discussions about homosexuality.

The panel accepted the version of the bill that passed the state Senate late in last year’s session.

Opponents say it will not curb talk about homosexuality among grade school kids but will send the signal that it should be stigmatized. But several lawmakers argued that it would protect parents’ right to educate their children about their beliefs on their own terms.

The House sponsor of the bill is Rep Joey Hensley, who obviously cares more about keeping gays in their place than actually helping school curriculum or, you know, getting jobs in Tennessee. The fact that this bill was placed on the agenda so early in the year should be a huge wake up call to everyone in the state. GOP priority has never been about jobs. It’s about pushing back every bit of progress they possibly can.

Jonathan Cole, President of the Tennessee Equality Project, reported on the day’s events.

Despite warnings of the message such a bill sends to students in Tennessee public schools, the subcommittee voted to silence a teacher’s ability to have age-appropriate discussions with K-8 students when that discussion falls outside “natural human reproduction science.” Even in its amended form, HB0229 and SB0049  marginalizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning students or their families.

During the hearing, Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) stated the amended version of the bill is in line with current curriculum and is consistent with what is already written in Title 49 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. If that is the case, then why would anyone advance this divisive legislation?

Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) said it best: this bill does not improve education and is a solution in search of a problem. It is unnecessary and has the potential to do harm.

The group has organized a petition to urge the full House Education Committee to reject the bill. Please sign it if you live in a district that’s represented by a member of that committee.

Joe Pitts, who represents Clarksville’s district 67, has pledged to oppose the bill. Be sure to thank him for doing the right thing.

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3 Responses to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill clears subcommittee

  1. "…a solution in seach of a problem." That's the truth. This stupid legislation has but one purpose and that is to divide, bully and harm kids. And your point about it being such a high legislative priority this early in the year is spot on. When are people going to wake up and realize that most Republicans don't give a hoot about actually GOVERNING? They seem to just care about shoving their religious and cultural opinions down our throat. And all the while serious and pressing problems go unaddressed by the people we elect and pay to fix them. It's maddening!

  2. Given that child molestation also falls outside natural reproductive science, doesn't this also silence the school staff's ability to deal with a child that implies but does not state outright they've been molested?

  3. Given that child molestation also falls outside natural reproductive science, doesn't this also silence the school staff's ability to deal with a child that implies but does not state outright they've been molested?

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