The Louisiana House of Representatives
has used a procedural move to revive a bill dubbed “Don't Say Gay”
by its opponents.
The bill died last week after it failed
to clear a House committee. Three Republicans on the panel joined
Democrats in sinking the measure.
House Bill 837 from Representative
Dodie Horton, a Republican from Haughton, seeks to prohibit
discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12
Horton's bill seeks to prohibit
teachers and school staff from discussing sexual orientation or
gender identity “in any classroom discussion or instruction in
kindergarten through grade eight” and from discussing “his own
sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten
through grade twelve.”
According to local sources, Republicans
in the House voted on Tuesday to move the bill before the Committee
of the Whole, where all House members have a vote. The House is
composed of 68 Republicans, 33 Democrats, and 3 Independents.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, criticized the move.
“House lawmakers in Louisiana are not
only endangering the health and inclusion of LGBTQ+ students and
students with LGBTQ+ families, they’re endangering the respect for
legislative processes,” HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a
statement. “As Representative Sam Jenkins noted, lawmakers are
sending the message that they can and will ignore committee decisions
for any and all future bills.
“Bills like Louisiana’s Don’t Say
Gay or Trans legislation are a shameful attack on students who are
already struggling with the weight of discrimination and isolation.
We call on the Louisiana House to recognize the gravity of this bill
and prevent it from advancing.”
Florida recently became the first state
to approve a so-called “Don't Say Gay” law. Republican-led states
quickly lined up to introduce their own versions.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a
Democrat, opposes passage of the measure.