BIGOTED BILLS

Hiatus of “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Allows Tennessee Teachers to Discuss Homogays for at Least One More Year

Tennessee’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill—which would prohibit teachers from mentioning homosexuality previous to the ninth grade—will likely stay in hiatus in the state House for the rest of the year; namely because Republican Stacey Campfield introduced it too late in the legislative session for full passage. Nevertheless, the Senate will take a floor vote on the bill this next Thursday.

If the bill passes the Senate and then the House in 2012, it will ensure that Tennessee students won’t learn about contemporary queer rights battles in their social studies classes, queer themes in art and literature, or their own same-sex attraction and same-sex families before high school. In short, it basically ensures that Tennessee middle-schoolers remain culturally illiterate and ill-equipped to handle contemporary social issues until they start hearing about the strange and mysterious queers in ninth grade.

Thank goodness for Campfield’s bad timing and for representative Bill Dunn’s decision not to push the bill in the House this session (though he has promised to do so next session). Maybe between now and 2012 the bill will get enough bad press to shame more legislators into voting against it.

[Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified the state in question as Indiana.]