“Don’t Say Gay” Bill Passes TN House Subcommittee

The odious “Don’t Say Gay” bill sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield (right) has moved one step closer to becoming law: Having been approved by the Senate last year, it was just approved by the Tennessee House Education subcommittee yesterday. If enacted, it would mean elementary and middle-school teachers would be banned from discussing LGBT issues in the classroom.

Writes Chas Sisk in The Tennessean:

Opponents say it will not curb talk about homosexuality among grade school kids but will send the signal that it should be stigmatized. But several lawmakers argued that it would protect parents’ right to educate their children about their beliefs on their own terms.

“The basic right as an American is my right to life, my right to liberty and my right to the pursuit of happiness,” said state Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, arguing to keep the subject of homosexuality out of elementary school classrooms. “Within that includes being able to run my home, raise my children as I see fit and to indoctrinate them as I see fit.”

Next, SB51 heads to the House Education Committee, which could vote on it as early as next week and put it before the full House by the spring.

Among the most vocal opponents of SB51 have been students: The Tennessean reports several dozen Nashville schoolchildren, many wearing purple T-shirts in solidarity with LGBT kids who have committed suicide, crowded into the senate chamber on Wednesday.

Photo: Ron Cogswell

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  • Kurtis

    Makes great sense… Don’t fix the problem, just forget that it exists, and voila! Out of sight out of mind.

  • Matt

    What can we do to help stop this?!

  • Charles

    Didn’t they do something like this once before? You know, the Scopes monkey trials? The 1960 movie depicting this was entitled “Inherit the Wind”. Guess they didn’t learn from that one. As Forrest Gump once said,”Stupid is as stupid does”. The other is like unto it. “He who fails to remember the past is condemn to repeat it”.

  • Mark

    Perhaps a petition? At least that would give these neanderthals (no offence to neanderthals intended) an idea of how the rest of the population feels.

  • Jim Hlavac

    Well, if they really wanted to be true to their ideals of controlling their child’s education and “indoctrination” then they would all argue for the complete shutdown of the entire public school system, and handing over all such responsibilities to parents. Yet, they apparently have no problem with any other state support and sponsorship and even indoctrination on any other matter. Meanwhile, as another facet of their “don’t talk about gays” in school ideals, then they would not tax gay residents of Tennessee to pay for any schooling whatsoever. But I find that they want gay tax dollars, but despise the gay taxpayers. Perhaps the gays of Tennessee should organize a tax revolt or boycott, so that nothing gay might sully the schools of the state.

  • NativeSonKY

    “and to indoctrinate them as I see fit” – sounds like state Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis doesn’t really have any parenting skills – probably just beats his kids into SUBMISSION. He may find that that method gets him exactly the opposite of the desired result!

  • dvlaries

    I’ve got a buddy in Tennessee and I’m in Virginia; it’s like our two states are trying to one-up the other over which can prove more ignorant. Neither of us has any shortage of bone-headed elected fools. If I croak in the land of Robert E. Lee, I don’t even want my fuckin’ ashes left here.


    So does this mean that kids also can not use the phrase ( THATS SO GAY)? If that is the case, then atleast something possitive would come from this crap!

    just saying!!

  • Jonathonz

    I love how Rep DeBerry uses the phrase “indoctrinate them [my children] as I see fit.” Very telling.

  • Chuck

    Let’s see how the numerous gay Republicans that read this site will spin this as actually good for the LGBT community. Or that it’s the Democrat’s fault for letting the Republican bigots do this. LOL

  • Expat - Queer Supremacist

    @ No. 10 – I am pretty ignorant about TN politics but I don’t see how the Democrats are not complicit in this ? Is there such an overwhelming Republican majority in the House that Democrats wouldn’t be able to stop it ? I’ve read a lot about Campfield but little about his Democrat opponents fighting this bill.

  • Expat - Queer Supremacist

    I was asking for information in regards to this particular situation, I’m not sure what’s so funny about that ?

  • Chuck

    Against my better judgement, I’ll try to answer your question. President Obama was elected in 2008 right after George W. Bush rammed through TARP to bail out Wall Street. A lot of the country was outraged and formed the Tea Party. Astroturf groups sponsored by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers (egged on by FoxNews) coopted the Tea Party and told them they weren’t angry at Wall Street, they were really angry at President Obama who by then was trying to form a consensus and get public input about much needed healthcare reform in the US. So these people were egged on and told to be disruptive at town meetings. FoxNews, Republicans, and hate radio lied about the healthcare reform that was eventually passed. By this point these people were so riled up, that they spit on and hurled epithets at Democrats as they tried to enter the Capitol. That brought us 2010 where Republicans won big majorities in states and in the House.

    Since that time, supermajorities of Republicans in state governments have passed things such as anti-union laws, voter id laws, and anti-abortion laws. This week Virginia passed a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to get a vaginal probe and be shown pictures of her fetus. In Tennessee, there is the “don’t say gay” bill. Minnesota and North Carolina Republicans put initiatives on this years ballots to ban gay marriage. New Jersey’s Republican governor has said he will veto the gay marriage bill that just passed there.

    During the hearings for the Matthew Shepherd hate crime law, Republican (then minority leader) John Boehner said that beating up gays was protected as freedom of speech. Republican congresswoman Virginia Foxx questioned whether Matthew Shepherd was really murdered at all because his “deviant lifestyle requires one to consider suicide.” She said this and then went on to blame the victim and suggest that Matthew’s killers were the true victims, in front of Matthew’s mother who was visiting that day.

    Whether it be repealing DADT or gay marriage in any state that has it, gay rights have always been initiated and sponsored by Democrats. Sometimes (as in NY) Dems can get a minority of Republicans to go along with them. When President Obama refused to allow his justice department to defend the discriminatory DOMA, John “We’re Broke” Boehner managed to find the millions of dollars to pay for the defending DOMA by Republicans in the House. When the lawfirm they had hired quit because they did not want to defend discrimination, Boehner found anther law firm to do it.

    These are just a few examples of the extreme difference between Democrats and Republicans in terms of gay rights. The TN legislature is in Republican hands with large majorities for the first time. The sponsor of this bill is a Republican. The humor comes from people on this site, despite all these, and dozens of examples I haven’t even mentioned, still manage to blame Democrats for everything and accept culpability for Republican anti-gay actions for absolutely nothing.

  • Expat - Queer Supremacist

    Thanks for the history, but my question was referring to this particular situation in TN and what actions Democrats and Republicans are undertaken for and against this particular bill.

  • NativeSonKY

    But this Rep. John DeBerry IS a Dem! Of course, sad to say, not ALL Dems are open-minded (Blue Dogs/traitors) so we can never trust ANY LABEL!

  • tjr101

    Unfortunately the Democratic party does have some conservatives in their ranks that are just as bigoted as their republican counterparts. In the south the lines are very blurred on the beliefs of Democrats and Republicans when it comes to social issues.
    @Expat – Queer Supremacist: The Republicans have a clear majority in the TN state house so any opposition by Democrats on this will likely be futile.

  • Expat - Queer Supremacist

    @No. 17 thank you that’s what I was wondering, are you from TN and if so are there are counter-initiatives being implanted by any pro-queer groups ?

  • Danny

    Somewhere along the way U.S. politicians got the insane notion that they could commit genocide against gay Americans. Obviously the next step is to demand these politicians be put on trial for the crime of genocide. Otherwise the rule of law in Tennessee is at its end. Violating the human rights of millions of Americans is crossing the line. It is obvious politicians are trying to harm gay children.

  • Isaac C

    @Danny: This is a states’ rights issue. It does not apply to anyone else but those residing in Tennessee. I support the bill on that merit alone. The GLBT there should work to change things there the lawful way, however long it takes, or leave the state.

  • J Stratford

    Just a historical reference. Tennessee was part of the UNION, not the confederacy okay?

    @Isaac C. If this is really a states rights issue, gay marriages performed in NY should be recognized in TN, just like first cousin maariages performed in VA are recognized in TN. So yes, I would love it if this was a states rights issue.

  • Danny

    @Isaac C. You seem to think that simply violating the human rights of millions of people inside the boundaries of a given jurisdiction somehow absolves the perpetrators of being accountable to the people beyond those boundaries. I suppose people violating the human rights of millions of other people have to delude themselves into believing that to sleep at night. You appear to believe politicians are somehow above the human rights of millions of people.

  • Biff

    @NativeSonKY: DeBerry is a member of the Church of Christ and went to a C of C university. They are extremely conservative. Seriously. They think the Baptists are going to hell just for allowing piano music in church.

  • NativeSonKY

    When will ALL Christians READ their Bibles? Jesus told His apostles, “I give to you a new commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another”. THAT is the essence of all of Jesus’ teachings!

  • B

    What the people who voted for this are forgetting (assuming they actually do care about children, which may be a doubtful assumption) is that, instead of being educated by their teacher about homosexuality in a grade-appropriate manner, they will be educated by their peers – there is no way in hell that they’ll be educated by their sexually hung up parents.

  • Roddy

    I want the right to teach my kids about sweet, sweet man-on-lady love, so no one better ever mention that is exists to them before me. EVER.

  • Isaac C

    @J Stratford: I believe TN changed their constitution to ban SSM in Tennessee and SSMs performed in other states, which it was in its right to do. I’m not sure why you’re bringing up marriage equality in this case.

    @Danny: I don’t think state lines absolve anyone of anything. But there needs to be respect for the state’s independence. You write frequently about ‘human rights’ but I’m not sure you know what that means or what they are.

  • Chuck

    I wonder what would happen if people made it forbidden to talk about race, at all, in schools.

    Children would be raised thinking things about the kids that are different from them but would never be educated on their struggles or how despite the differences, they’re still the same.

  • Mika Tanaka

    The purpose of school is to educate children, so that eventually, they can make their own choices and form their own opinions. By declaring a topic unspeakable you are defeating the purpose of education. (Also, will teachers not be able to mention current events that involve the LGBT community? Current events may not be taught in elementary schools, but they were definately mentioned in my middle school.)

    By making homosexuality a forbiden topic you prevent teachers from teaching their students not to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. This will result in bullying. The supporters of this bill will be responsible for every hurtful word and violent act that could have been prevent by teachers who will now have their hands tied.

    This law is an embarassment and the people who supported it should be ashamed of themselves.

  • David

    The dude’s name is Stacey. What else can we expect from a closeted bigot?

Comments are closed.