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The "Don't Say Gay Bill" Introduced in Tennessee

TennesseeA proposed bill sponsored by Tennessee Republicans, Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. Bill Dunn, would prevent children in elementary and middle schools to talk about homosexuals.

The bill, introduced as House Bill 229 or Senate Bill 49, says in part that "No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."

"The Don't Say Gay bill raises all kinds of issues about anti-gay bias, free speech and government overreach," said Ben Byers with the Tennessee Equality Project. "It limits what teachers and students are able to discuss in the classroom. It means they can't talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have gay family."

Sen. Campfield's office released the following statement about the bill:
"It's the family's responsibility and not someone with an agenda – one way or the other. The bill is neutral. We should leave it to families to decide when it is appropriate to talk with children about sexuality – specifically before the eighth grade."

The Tennessee Equality Project says says there is no curriculum in Tennessee that discusses sexuality in grades K-8 so the bill is not needed.

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