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TN Senate Panel Approves “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

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A Tennessee Senate committee passed a bill last Wednesday prohibiting teachers from talking about homosexuality in the classroom until students are in the ninth grade.

The legislation reads: “no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”

Republican Stacey Campfield is the sponsor of what some are calling the “don’t say gay” bill–it’s the same measure he unsuccessfully pushed for six years as a member of the state House.

Campfield told OutQ’s Michelangelo Signorile back in 2009 that the bill’s goal was to shield the youth from the “complex issue of sexuality.”

CAMPFIELD: “And really I think it should be really left up to the parents to decide when it’s age-appropriate, when their children are ready to talk about those issues and when they aren’t ready. I mean some kids are sure that they might be ready at a younger age than others. But I don’t think that’s an issue…I don’t think we should be teaching it in the first place.”

Campfield’s colleague Jim Tracy tried to sidetrack the bill on Wednesday, with an amendment to the bill that would order the State board of education to do a study. The board would report back on whether the bill conflicts with the existing “family life curriculum,” which already excludes discussion of homosexuality.

But Senator Brian Kelsey pushed back, with his own amendment that would immediately put the bill into effect as soon as Tracy’s study was completed.

The measure now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

-Rose Bochner

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Written by OutQ News staff

April 27, 2011 at 7:45 AM

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