HRC Blog

Tennessee Legislators Wage War on State’s LGBT Youth

HRC Call It OutPost submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

HRC is joining with the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) in denouncing a series of bills pending in the state legislature that are hostile to the state’s LGBT youth. The bills include HB 229, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would prohibit educators from acknowledging LGBT people exist; HB 1153, the “License to Bully” bill that would allow students to harass their classmates if it was a reflection of their ‘religious, philosophical, or political views;’ and HB 0432, a bill targeting gay-straight alliances by requiring parents to give permission before their children  join clubs at school.

The most imminent and destructive of these three bills is the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which has passed the full State Senate and the House Education Committee. HRC is calling on its members and supporters to add their voice to those calling on Governor Bill Haslam and House Speaker Beth Harwell to kill the dangerous “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. The bill is now headed to the House Calendar and Rules Committee before receiving a House floor vote.

As originally drafted, the bill says “no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.” An amended version now prohibits “classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction.”

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