A Tennessee House panel on Tuesday approved a proposed bill which would outlaw the discussion of sexual minorities in Tennessee's public schools before the ninth grade.

The measure – dubbed the “Don't Say Gay” bill – cleared the House Education Committee on an 8-7 vote.

The Senate approved the controversial bill last year. Republican state Senator Stacey Campfield first introduced the legislation seven years ago in the House.

(Related: “Don't Say Gay” Stacey Campfield denied service over anti-gay views.)

Rep. Joey Hensley, the bill's sponsor in the House, told The Tennessean that the measure was needed because it would add a layer of accountability to current policy.

“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.”

The move comes after Governor Bill Haslam reiterated his opposition to the measure.

“It's not something that I think is particularly helpful or needed right now,” Haslam said last month. “I think the state already has rules in place about what can be taught.”

(Related: Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson responds to “Don't Say Gay” supporter's claims.)