'Don't Say Gay' Bill Clears Tennessee Senate

Homosexuality can't be in prepared class material in schools

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 21, 2011 10:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – The "don't-say-gay" bill moves on: A measure aimed at curbing discussion of homosexuality in schools has made it through the Tennessee Senate. The final version got watered down a bit, explains the Tennessean: K-through-8 teachers can respond to questions on gay issues, but they can't make the topic part of a prepared lesson plan. “They couldn’t say, ‘Today, we’re going to teach about homosexuality, lesbianism,’" says the bill's longtime sponsor, State Sen. Stacey Campfield. "That can’t be part of the course work.”

Despite its progress, the bill can't become law for a while because the state House won't take up its version until next year. One high school senior who lobbied against it and showed up for the vote said the fight will continue. “I know that we have juniors that are ready to take it head on next year,” he said. “This is the civil rights movement of our times. We have to take advantage of the opportunity to stand up for what we believe in.”

State Sen. Stacey Campfield, left, is congratulated by colleagues after his bill about gay issues passes the Senate in Nashville on Friday.
State Sen. Stacey Campfield, left, is congratulated by colleagues after his bill about gay issues passes the Senate in Nashville on Friday.   (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
Young opponents of the bill watch the vote.
Young opponents of the bill watch the vote.   (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
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