A bill which would prohibit the discussion of gay issues in Missouri's public schools on Wednesday advanced to an education committee, the Vital Voice reported.

Republican Rep. Steve Cookson introduced the proposal last month. It now has been referred to the House's Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

The bill's summary reads: “This bill prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation in public school instruction, materials or extracurricular activity except in scientific instruction on human reproduction.”

The measure would effectively ban Gay-Straight Alliance groups from meeting on school grounds as approved extracurricular entities.

“Filing this bill is a desperate tactic by frightened, bigoted, cynical individuals who are terrified at the advancement the LGBT community has made in breaking down the barriers to full and equal treatment under the law,” said A.J. Bockelman, executive director of PROMO, the state's leading gay rights advocate.

“It's clear that this proposed bill does nothing to protect students. In some way, however, these enemies of Freedom of Speech have done us a favor. By attempting to coerce teachers and students into making this core reality of our lives literally unspeakable, they have only proved why LGBT students need greater, better, and stronger protection in our schools.”

PROMO has launched an online petition against the bill.

A similar bill in Tennessee recently cleared a House panel.