A Tennessee Senate committee has
approved a bill that would prohibit the discussion of sexual
minorities in public schools, KnoxNews.com reported.
Republican state Senator Stacey
Campfield's so-called “don't say gay” bill seeks to limit sexual
discussions in elementary and middle schools to heterosexuality.
Supporters say the bill is about
promoting age appropriate curriculum.
“If we're talking about
homosexuality, we are talking about specific acts that are going to
be unhealthy for anybody to engage in outside of marriage,” Matthew
Parsons, founder of the socially conservative group Something Better,
the local CBS affiliate.
The measure, which was approved along a
6-3 party line vote, has been modified from the original version
Campfield began pushing six years ago in the House.
The new language proposes adoption of
the ban after the Board of Education studies whether any instruction
on homosexuality is occurring.
In 2008, the 42-year-old unmarried
Campfield made clear his motivations: “We're not going to teach
about homosexuality, the homosexual lifestyle, the lesbian lifestyle,
the transgender lifestyle.”
Ben Byers of the Tennessee Equality
Project opposes the measure because “It limits what teachers and
students are able to discuss in the classroom.”
“It means they can't talk about gay
issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have [a] gay
family,” he said.
Campfield has previously introduced
controversial legislation, including a bill to issue death
certificates for aborted fetuses.
Fellow Republican Bill Dunn has
sponsored the measure in the House, and is a member of the Education
Committee his bill has been assigned to.
Republicans control both chambers of
the Tennessee General Assembly.