[B]'Don't say gay' bill advances in Tennessee, would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality[/B]
BY Aliyah Shahid
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, April 22nd 2011, 11:23 AM
A Tennessee Senate committee has given the green light to a bill that would bar teachers from discussing homosexuality with elementary and middle school students.
The legislation, dubbed the "don't say gay" bill, states teachers cannot "provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."
Republican Stacey Campfield, the bill's sponsor, has argued the move is "neutral," according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
"We should leave it to families to decide when it is appropriate to talk with children about sexuality - specifically before the eighth grade," he added.
But gay rights activists are blasting the legislation, which passed 6-3, as a form of discrimination.
It "limits what teachers and students are able to discuss in the classroom," Ben Byers of the Tennessee Equality Project told LBGTQ Nation. "It means they can't talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have gay family."
The bill will now head to the full state Senate.
The latest vote was split along party lines, with Democrats opposing the legislation.