Tennessee House Representative Stacey Campfield makes us say “Hmmmm…”
The single 40-year old proposed legislation earlier this month that would prohibit “gay speak” in the state’s elementary and middle school. Said Campfield:
We’re not going to teach about topics that I think should be taught at home in the first place. We’re not going to teach about homosexuality, the homosexual lifestyle, the lesbian lifestyle, the transgendered lifestyle. We’re going to leave that up to families to decide when it’s age appropriate, when it isn’t appropriate, and what they want to tell their children.
Campfield’s exclusion certainly doesn’t break new ground – countless politicians and activists have called for similar bans in the past. Campfield’s timing, however, couldn’t be worse.
As regular readers know, a 15-year old California teen named Lawrence King officially died this weekend after being shot by a classmate. Speculative students say the shooter – Brandon McIrney – took issue with King’s effeminate ways and love of lady’s clothing. Unfortunate, then, that Campfield defended his legislation by warning of a California-like gay infiltration: “They’ve banned using ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ in books. This is not what our schools should be focused on.”
Incidents such as King’s death would be much more prevalent in Campfield’s world. What if a parent doesn’t want to teach their kid anything? Or – in an extreme example – they teach their child that gays should be shot in the face?
Should school officials just sit by and let the Culture Wars claim more youthful casualties? We think not, obviously, but we’re pretty grossed out that a public official such as Republican Campfield would be blind to the dangerous environment he’s tacitly endorsing. It’s absolutely mind-boggling, as is his assertion that the proposal isn’t “anti-gay”. It’s “middle of the road,” apparently. Where that road goes, we don’t know, but definitely somewhere ugly.