House Panel Advances ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill in Tennessee

Tennessee's House Education Committee voted 8-7 to advance Rep. Stacey Campfield's (below) "Don't Say Gay" bill, which forbids discussion of homosexuality in schools. It now heads to the Calendar Committee before a floor vote, the Tennesseean reports:

CampfieldBill sponsor Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, and others argued that outside groups and some teachers slip those conversations in, and the bill serves as an accountability reminder.

“I have two children — in the third- and fourth-grade — and don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t agree with,” Hensley said. “… Even though the state board disallows this now, I’m afraid it does happen, and sex education is talked about in a way that it is acceptable.”

Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, who voted for the bill, said he’s seen documentation that outside groups are entering classrooms at the invitation of principals and teachers and not staying within the curriculum guidelines.

Schools caught in violation of the state’s sex education policies can have state money withheld, and teachers face a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail, according to state law.

The bill passed the Senate in 2011.